“Has anyone here ever heard of Reader’s Digest?” Associate Provost and Professor of Biology Rob Fairman asked a group of students who had assembled for the Annual Scholarship Recipients Lunch on February 13. After the staff members in the room over the age of 35 chuckled at the students’ silence, Fairman went on to explain that not only was it a very popular magazine for decades, it also had a foundation that created scholarship funds, including one established at Haverford in 1965. It is one of 246 endowed scholarships at the College. The first, The Thomas Cope Fund, was created in 1842, and the most recent, The Walter and Carol Shanler Scholarship Fund, was created in late 2012.
While every scholarship fund is awarded on the basis of financial need, not merit, some funds do have additional preferences for the student who will receive it, such as what part of the country they are from or what their major is. Dean of Student Life Steve Watter joked with the students, “We match you up with scholarships in a dark, smoky room.” In reality, the room may be neither, but there is a team of College administrators that “works hard to honor the requests of the donors,” Watter said.
This attention to and fulfillment of donors’ intentions falls under the purview of Haverford’s Office of Stewardship. Director of Stewardship Janet Heron and Assistant Director Jason Rash facilitate connections between scholarship donors and scholarship students. Senior Jonathan Fosdick, recipient of the Charles and Barbara Beever Scholarship, explained the importance of this interaction. “The most meaningful way to show your appreciation for your scholarship is to communicate with the donor. It’s a great way for them to get to know you and how you meet the criteria of the scholarship they created.” Fairman added, “Donors are very passionate. Whenever I travel, alumni come out of the woodwork to tell me how much they deeply care about Haverford. And they deeply care about you. Write a letter. Network with them.”
Donor-student interaction perpetuates the practice of giving back and paying forward, reinforcing a culture of philanthropy and dedication to making a Haverford education accessible to all qualified students. These values—and the scholarship donors and recipients themselves—are honored each year at the annual Celebration of Scholarships held in April.
Read about last year’s Celebration of Scholarships in the 2011-2012 Scholarship Impact Report.