Wednesday, November 06, 2019

UIS students thank donors at the annual Scholarship Luncheon

University of Illinois Springfield students got a chance to say thank you to their scholarship donors during the 23rd annual Scholarship Luncheon on Nov. 6.

A record crowd of nearly 300 people packed the Student Union Ballroom as they celebrated how scholarships have made a difference in the lives of students.

“This scholarship is a gift that keeps on giving,” said donor Carol Esarey. “Every year we get to meet the recipients and that's another gift. It’s wonderful just to get to know the young people that are getting gifts.”

Esarey and her husband Clark started the Carrie Gibson Esarey and Dorothy Neland scholarship funds in honor of their mothers.

“For me, a good many years ago I obtained a four year tuition free scholarship to University of Illinois,” said Clark Esarey. “I feel it's very important to pay back the wonderful thing it was. It changed my life!”

UIS alum Dexter Burns, who is the youngest scholarship donor in UIS history, started a scholarship fund to help students pay for international study away programs.

“I think the fact that people believe they have to wait years and years to give back is a misconception,” he said. “I always say that philanthropy doesn't have to be reserved for the rich and famous. Anything you can give can help someone.”

UIS student TyTianna Murray received the James F. Lundquist Memorial Scholarship, which is also helping her travel internationally.

“The scholarship has impacted me in a way that I can find the funds to actually travel and experience the world,” she said. “I feel like this opportunity will increase my awareness around the world globally, so I know how to communicate with a lot of people.”

UIS Vice Chancellor for Advancement Jeff Lorber says fundraising for the UIS Reaching Stellar campaign is currently about 80 percent complete.

“Our campaign goal for Reaching Stellar is $40 million,” he said. “As of about a week ago, we have topped the $32 million mark. We still have the better part of three years left in the campaign, so we are ecstatic about the level of support we've received to date, but we still have a ways to go.”

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