Spring scholarship luncheon generates warm memories and camaraderie

scholarship recipients and donorsOn March 29th over 40 Norwich alumni, friends, staff, and students gathered to welcome the coming of spring and to celebrate Norwich's endowed scholarship program. Hosted by the office of institutional advancement, the Spring Scholarship Luncheon provided scholarship donors the opportunity to meet the students who have benefited from their generosity.

Early that morning, two vans departed campus and transported a dozen students and President Richard W. Schneider to the Westin Hotel in Waltham, Mass. Shortly after the vans from Northfield pulled up to the hotel, donors from across New England, representing thirteen different scholarships, arrived, and the afternoon's festivities began. Enjoying a lunch of grilled Black Angus steak and chicken Florentine, Norwich alumni and friends enjoyed the students' stories of life on The Hill and shared their own memories of the University.

At one table, the recipients of the David B. Hollis Scholarship and the Dixie B. and Ruth C. Hollis Scholarship gathered to hear stories about one of Norwich's most distinguished alumni: David "Dixie" Hollis, class of 1922. Stephen and Linda Olsen, points of contact for the two scholarships, brought pictures of Dixie, and the students gathered around the photos, pointing out familiar dorm-room features.

"It's awesome how you keep Mr. Hollis' memory alive," commented Hollis scholarship recipient Cadet Katie Grant.

"David," stated Mr. Olsen, "demonstrated what it means to really be in love with this University."

Over dessert, President Schneider shared campus news and updates, and everyone joined in cheering for the national champion Cadet hockey team. After the applause quieted, President Schneider recognized each individual scholarship and offered both the donors and the recipients an opportunity to express what Norwich and their scholarship mean to them.

As scholarship recipients conveyed their own stories about how receiving a scholarship has affected their lives and their time at Norwich, many pointed to the fact that without financial aid they would not be able to afford the costs of a higher education.

Cadet Christopher Franco, a recipient of the Dixie B. and Ruth C. Hollis Scholarship, explained "my parents could not have sent me here without this scholarship. I hope someday I can start a scholarship like this for someone else."

As the scholars expressed their personal gratitude, they presented their donors with a taste of spring in Vermont: a bottle of maple syrup adorned with maroon and gold ribbons.

Several of the scholarships represented at the luncheon are in the process of being endowed and will be awarded for the first time at a future date. The Richard Hosmer Memorial Scholarship is such an award, and Richard's widow, Caroline, joined the group for the luncheon.

Commenting on her husband's scholarship, Mrs. Hosmer said, "Dick loved Norwich so much. I can't wait to have someone benefit from it." The Richard Hosmer Memorial Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in Fall, 2003.

The Class of 1963 Scholarship, which will also be endowed at a future date, was represented by class representative and Norwich staff member Charlie Crosby.

"The Class of 1963's intent is to raise enough money to pay for one full scholarship each year," said Mr. Crosby. The scholarship will be funded by gifts from alumni of the Class of 1963, who are preparing for their 40th reunion this year. Mr. Crosby remembered that he was the recipient of a full scholarship during his time as a student at Norwich.

"Without it, I wouldn't have been here," he noted.

It is just that type of commitment that President Schneider highlighted to the students in attendance.

"As you go through life," Schneider urged, "remember what has been done for you and continue the scholarship tradition so that others may benefit." Many of the scholars echoed this sentiment and expressed the desire to one day follow in the footsteps of the donors.

Commenting on the dedication of the students in attendance, Peter Higgins (representative of the Graham A. Higgins Scholarship) noted, "I had two boys at this magnificent institution. We are very proud of our lads and happy they could be among youngsters like these."

Scholarship luncheons have become a special part of the Norwich tradition. Held twice a year, the luncheons are designed to provide a relaxed, friendly atmosphere for donors and recipients to meet and to share their stories about Norwich.

"I know that opportunities for donors and students to meet bring joy to everyone involved. What better way to welcome the warmth of spring than to gather so many people who have such warm memories of Norwich?" asked Allison Sultan, Norwich University stewardship officer.

For more information about Norwich's endowed scholarships, or future scholarship luncheons, Allison Sultan may be reached at (802) 485-2308 or asultan@norwich.edu.

asultan@norwich.edu, April 2003

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