Alumni give scholarships at reception

$500,000 awarded, group's president says

by Sally Claunch
The Shorthorn staff

Finance senior Sara Wickersham said the $250 Simmons-Blackwell Scholarship she won makes her happy and makes her father ecstatic.

"It helps me tremendously - it helps to pay for my books, which my father loves," she said.

The Alumni Association presented 43 scholarships today at a reception honoring its 1999 through 2000 scholarship recipients and donors. The association has a committee that selects scholarship recipients based on varying criteria.

Alumni Association President Trey Yelverton said he was pleased to see the amount of scholarship support given by alumni continues to rise.

"I have watched it grow from two or three, eight or nine years ago, to 43 awards totaling about half a million dollars," he said.

University President Robert Witt said the scholarships, because they come from alumni, are among the most important.

"The people who provide the scholarships are not only helping students, but indicating in a very concrete financial way that they believe in their university," he said.

Tom Simmons, class of 1972, and Linda Blackwell-Simmons, class of 1977, said they prefer to support their alma mater by donating scholarship money to be given out by the Alumni Association.

"We feel like we have more discretion (as to where the money goes), rather than just giving it generally," Simmons said.

Nursing sophomore Amanda Jackson just transferred here from Kilgore College.

She said the Simmons-Blackwell Scholarship she received helped avoid as much stress about money.

"It gives me a chance to study more besides having to focus on working all the time," she said. "Every little bit helps."

Biomedical engineering masters student Carolyn Rogers received the Frankie Hansell Scholarship for the third consecutive year.

She said the scholarship has given her the financial support she needed to continue on in graduate school.

"My tuition has been paid for," she said.

She did express some sadness that Hansell was not able to attend the reception because of a stroke she suffered Monday night. Hansell sponsored 10 scholarships worth $1,000 each.

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