Students send love to scholarship donors


Rebecca Turnbull

Sophomore psychology major, Bradley McCoy fills out thank you letters for donors on Love a Donor Day.

Marshall University students composed letters Wednesday in the Memorial Student Center lobby during the third annual Love a Donor Day to thank donors who have provided funds for scholarships and other university expenses.

Program director of scholarships and donor relations, Krystle Davis said donors love to get feedback from students they help to support.

“When they do hear from the students, it puts a face to the money,” Davis said. “They see that there are students who are grateful and are being successful.”

Davis said students also happen to enjoy coming out to the event to write thank you letters to their donors.

“Every time that we’re here doing this, the students want to say thank you,” Davis said. “They’re so thankful when they get the money. Sometimes it’s the difference between them getting a part-time job or not getting a part-time job, or having to work while they’re going to school, so they want to be able to somehow pay that back.”

Senior nursing major Taylor Pitkin said because of donors, she will be able to graduate debt-free in May.

Pitkin said one of the reasons she chose Marshall was to be able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities for nursing, which extra funds from donors made possible for her to do.

Pitkin said she wrote letters to her donors at Love a Donor Day to thank them for the opportunities she has been able to receive while at Marshall.

“It’s just really important to acknowledge that they’re the ones who make our goals possible,” Pitkin said. “I was really grateful for the money.”

Laura Scieszka, a third year medical student said scholarships from donors have helped her tremendously with medical school and board exam expenses.

Scieszka said students should share their successes with the donors who provided them with funds to make those successes possible.

“When people are willing to invest in your future and really give a lot of money like that then students need to keep them aware of how it’s helping out, in order for them to continue to be a reason to keep donating,” Scieszka said.

Sophomore psychology major Bradley McCoy said donors have helped him to go to college virtually debt-free.

McCoy also said students have an obligation to communicate with their donors to increase the likelihood that certain scholarships and funds will be provided in the future.

“I think it’s rude not to thank them,” McCoy said. “If they’re not appreciated, they’re less likely to contribute in the future.”

Davis said Love a Donor Day has continued to ensure donors that their money is being put to good use, making them more apt to give more or encourage others to give to Marshall.

Davis said such increased donations also support students who have not actually received scholarships.

“Any student on campus benefits from donors’ gifts, whether it be through the annual funds for their department, study abroad opportunities on campus or going to competitions or conferences,” Davis said. “We’re out here to educate students who don’t realize that, but also to provide an opportunity for the students who do to say thank you.”

Davis said the long-term goal of the event is to inspire students to become donors when they graduate and want to give back.

“A lot of them will go on to have successful careers and hopefully start scholarships of their own,” Davis said, “but right now it kind of closes that circle for them to be able to say thank you.”

Love a Donor Day is an annual project provided by the Marshall University Foundation.

Rebecca Turnbull can be contacted at [email protected].