A little over four years ago, I received “the big packet” with my early decision acceptance from Haverford College. Part of the reason I had looked at Haverford and ultimately made it my first choice was the need-blind admission policy and amazing financial aid program—which meets 100% of demonstrated financial need for admitted students—but I did not fully appreciate that until I saw the offer they made me. Today, I am the Gerlach Family Scholar. There are approximately 250 other named, endowed scholarships at Haverford that, together with Haverford grants, support financial aid (more than $23 million for 48% of the student body). The goal of these scholarships is to make Haverford’s community more diverse and to ensure that all academically-qualified students who wish to attend can do so.
Every year, the College’s Office of Stewardship hosts a Scholarship Recipient Luncheon that offers students like me the chance to learn more about their endowed scholarship, how they were selected for it, and what it means for their time at Haverford and beyond. This year’s luncheon, held on February 11, was no exception as my fellow scholarship recipients and I gathered in the Bryn Mawr Room of the Dining Center for pizza and cookies, excitedly reading the descriptions of our scholarships from a number of packets passed around the table.
Each scholarship has special criteria explaining who it should be awarded to. Students do not apply; rather, “endowed scholarships are dollar-for-dollar replacements of your Haverford grants,” explained Assistant Director of Stewardship Jason Rash. Some are meant for students who are the first in their families to attend college or are from a specific region of the country. Others are awarded to students in a particular discipline or who are involved with a particular type of organization on campus.
As Ann West Figueredo ’84, the vice president for Institutional Advancement and a scholarship donor herself, told us the criteria provide an opportunity for the donors to say something with their scholarship support. “They believe in the Haverford experience and the doors it can open for students.”
President Daniel H. Weiss also spoke at the event and pointed out that whether they created their funds in honor of a parent, professor, or friend, “named, endowed scholarships are a way for donors to pay it forward” to the next generation of Haverford students. He also encouraged us to “reflect on what it means to be a scholarship recipient.”
I had a chance to do just that and share my thoughts as the final speaker of the event. For me, one of the most tangible outcomes of these scholarships is what they allow students on financial aid to do and accomplish at Haverford. While an on-campus job is a basic component of every financial aid package (like the one I have in College Communications), that requirement does not impede a student’s ability to be involved with the Haverford community, which remains an important aspect of any Haverford education. I recognized people in the audience who are involved with Customs, various affinity groups, environmental initiatives, and literary publications. Because of endowed scholarships, we are able to take full advantage of everything Haverford has to offer and get involved with the type of activities we might pursue for the rest of our lives, while forming long lasting bonds with other members of the community.
I haven’t met the Gerlach family yet, but I hope I’ll have the chance to. All scholarship recipients are asked to write to their donors, tell them about ourselves, and, of course, say thank you. It helps to create more meaningful connections between the donor and the recipient, even if they have not had the chance to meet in person. And it affirms that we all share what Ann Figueredo described as, “A sense of community, a sense of values, and a sense of wanting to make the world a better place.”
—Jack Hasler ’15
Photos by Patrick Montero