October 2, 2014

New scholarships available for Webster students

Each year Webster University receives several new scholarships for all sorts of students. These scholarships can be annual awards or an endowed fund. This year, around 25 new scholarships became available.

Scholarship Coordinator Shannon Frank said donors, often members of the Daniel Webster Society, give money to Webster with a specific type of student in mind. Most of these scholarships are awarded on a year to year basis, depending on whether the donors renew their contribution.

“It’s so great,” Frank said. “Donors of these awards can specify which college or school they want the award to go to. We try to keep it as general as just the school, but if they specifically say they want a piano student or a video student we’ll always try to find someone that fits that request.”

Most of these new annual scholarships are in the $1,500 range, which is the minimum the Daniel Webster Society requires for a contribution to be a scholarship award. These awards are not publicized; instead, awards are given to students who qualify for the award according to their Webster Scholarship form.

“Even though the awards aren’t huge on the annual side, students are so grateful and so appreciative to even receive $1,500,” Frank said. “That could mean the difference of having to have a part-time job for a semester or having to do a request to have their work study extended.”

The Daniel Webster Society is a group that recognizes donors who give money to Webster, whether through yearly contributions or endowments. The minimum amount required to join the society is $1,250. Donors can specify whether they want their money to go into capital projects, specialized programs, scholarships or other Webster needs.

Eligibility requirements change with each award, whether the scholarship targets a specific program, financial background or gender. Frank said that Webster’s scholarship policy requires any student seeking scholarships to have a 3.0 cumulative grade point average, though some of these scholarships have a higher GPA requirement.

For an endowed scholarship, such as the new Elizabeth Stroble Global Endowment Scholarship Fund which is given to international students, a minimum gift of $25,000 is required. These endowed scholarships then award students an amount based on the interest accumulated. Frank said most of these endowments pay out at a 4.5 percent rate. She also said that these awards grow over time- the longer an endowment is on the books, depending on the economy, the larger the amount grows and the larger the scholarship money to be awarded grows.

For some programs, the director of that department will choose the recipient. Peter Sargent awards all theatre awards, though Frank awards a majority of the Webster scholarships given. Each scholarship available is awarded, Frank said.

Frank said that the need for scholarships is continually growing. The Development Office is responsible for getting donor money for scholarships and other institutional priorities. Faith Maddy, vice president of development and alumni programs, said she expects about 65 new annual scholarships this year.

“People really enjoy the opportunity to benefit students,” Maddy said.

Maddy said that Webster holds a scholarship dinner each year to connect donors with students who have received awards.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for those donors to see firsthand the students they’re helping,” Maddy said. “Ultimately, every gift that comes in benefits the mission of the university, which is the students.”

One of these Daniel Webster Society donors is the Burke family. This year, the Burke family has established a $1,500 annual scholarship in honor of Karen Luebbert, long-time employee of Webster who retired in May. This semester also marks the second award of the Mason Gaddis Memorial Scholarship, which has received more donations since it was first created in Spring 2011.

Frank said that no matter what a donor requests, she and Donor Relations Coordinator Vicki Winslow try their best to help their wants match the student need.

“The last thing we want to do is have to go back to the donor at a later date and say ‘well you know we can’t find anybody, out of all the students we have we can’t find anybody to meet the requirements,’” Frank said. “so you want to set it up at the very beginning to make it work out well for the donor as well as for the university in terms of fulfilling the scholarship agreement.”



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