Scholarship Dinner Remarks | Webster University

Scholarship Dinner Remarks

Grant Gymnasium
April 13, 2011

President  Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble

Good evening and welcome to Webster University's annual Scholarship Dinner.  I am Beth Stroble, President of Webster University, and your host for the evening. 

I hope you enjoyed the entertainment during the reception provided by four of our scholarship recipients: Alyssa Avery, Ian Lubar, Matt McKeever and Mark Wallace. Thank you for performing for us tonight. 

The invitation to this event featured a quote from Katie Graessle, one of our scholarship recipients, which read, “I’m currently an International Relations major at Webster University with big plans, so this scholarship really does mean the world to me.”

Katie was not able to be with us tonight, but I want to thank her for setting the stage for this celebration of our scholarship donors whose generosity opens up the world, and all it has to offer to each of our scholarship recipients. 

This year the number of scholarship recipients increased because more annual scholarships and new scholarships were awarded and we saw improvements in our endowed scholarship funds. And we are convinced that these are just a few of the reasons why tonight you are all members of the largest group in Webster’s history to attend this Scholarship dinner: a total of over 270!  Congratulations and thank you for being here!

Forty-one scholarships were available through our annual scholarship program, which includes generous corporate contributors like The Boeing Company and Enterprise, foundations such as the Fox Family Charitable Foundation, and individual Daniel Webster Society donors. We are grateful for the continued support.

This year we awarded the first Art Sandler Endowed Scholarship, a scholarship established to honor the memory of Professor Art Sandler. Art created Webster’s highly successful human rights curriculum. He believed not only in studying, but also in taking action against injustice. He would be proud of his scholar, Olive Mukabalisa, who as a five-year-old child lost her family to the genocide in Rwanda. 

Olive is majoring in International Human Rights and plans to attend law school before returning to Rwanda to help rebuild her country.  Olive will you please stand.  Olive’s story is just one of the many that can be told about our extraordinary scholarship recipients.

Would all of our scholarship recipients please stand with Olive.

Each of the students is anxious to tell you how their scholarship has opened the world to them and the “big plans” they have.  I know you will enjoy hearing about the goals and dreams you are making possible for them. 

Let’s enjoy dinner, conversation and a musical performance by Katie Hamilton-Meier and Borris York accompanied by Ron Bryant.

Hello again!  I hope you enjoyed this opportunity to get acquainted. 

Before we move along with our program, let’s take a moment to honor three dear friends and Webster scholarship supporters who passed away this year.

Evelyn Wilson was a staunch supporter of the James H. Wilson II Endowed Memorial Scholarship, which honored the memory of her son and his love of film and print journalism. 

Evelyn attended the annual scholarship dinner faithfully. She carefully preserved every invitation, every student thank-you letter, and every nametag associated with her son's scholarship.  She often kept in touch with the Wilson Scholars after they left Webster.

Elizabeth Halpin (BA '36) entered Webster as a freshman scholarship student in the fall of 1932. Over the years she served as secretary to Webster's fourth president, George Donovan, and as director of admissions. Liz was President of the Alumni Association from 1948-1950, and in 1984 she earned the Mary Elizabeth Newell Award for her long-time loyalty and support of the University. 

Liz provided annual Daniel Webster Society scholarships for two years, until the endowed scholarship established through her estate ensured that her assistance to talented students is perpetuated.

Elizabeth Henry Espinosa established an endowed scholarship 60 years after her graduation from Webster in 1937. Elizabeth did this in appreciation of a scholarship she herself received as an undergraduate. In 1982, the University named her our Most Distinguished Alumna in recognition of her professional achievements in advertising and public relations and her volunteer work.

Reta Madsen served Webster for 30 years as professor and then chair of the English Department. Her colleagues and former students held Reta in such high esteem that in 2008 they endowed a scholarship in her name, to pay tribute to her lasting impact on her students, and on Webster itself. Reta guaranteed the fund’s success by investing in it personally. Now her legacy will inspire the work of future Webster students in perpetuity.

We all appreciate the impact these women have had on our students through their scholarship support. Instead of a moment of silence, let’s send up a hearty round of applause for Evelyn, Elizabeth and Reta for the hopes and dreams they made, and will continue to make possible.

Webster University is blessed with dedicated friends who support our efforts in so many ways. Another group of those friends is our committed and engaged Board of Trustees, some of whom are here tonight.  Please welcome Marilyn Fox, whose grandson will become a freshman Gorlok this fall; Paul Lee, Elizabeth Robb, Ed Glotzbach, and incoming chair, Brenda Newberry.

Thank you for your support and leadership.

Tonight we express our deep gratitude to those whose generosity opens doors for our students in need. And we celebrate the students, many of whom have risen above great odds to pursue their college degrees. 

It is time to hear the stories of one of our donors and two scholarship recipients. First from Trustee, Ed Glotzbach followed by Sharon Lee Holt who received the Elva Norman/Women in Communications Endowed Scholarship followed by Jessica Freeman, the recipient of the Sisters of Loretto Founders Endowed Scholarship.

Ed Glotzbach joined our Board of Trustees in 1995, serving as chair from 2002-2006.  He returned to the Board for a second term in 2007 and serves on the Finance and Audit sub-committees, and chaired the Presidential Search Committee in 2008. 

Upon his retirement from SBC Communications, the SBC Foundation established the Edward L. Glotzbach Scholarship in his honor and he has been a generous supporter ever since. 

The scholarship supports the School of Education students working toward either a master’s degree in the Educational Technology program or a degree with an emphasis in educational technology.

Please welcome Ed Glotzbach.

Thank you, Ed, Sharon, and Jessica.

Sharon and Jessica’s stories provide insight into a truth we already know: today's students will face harsh financial realities when pursuing higher education. Major changes in federal and state government aid could determine whether a student is able to pursue their dream of a college degree or not. It seems clear there will be less aid for need-based students in the coming year.

You, our donors, have helped bridge the gap for students like Jessica and Sharon, and every student at every table here tonight.  The need is even greater today for these and many more students who have “big plans.”

You make a quality education possible for so many students. Thank you for your dedication, generosity and friendship.  We share Katie Graessle’s sentiment  you mean the world to Webster University.

It has been another remarkable evening celebrating our dear friends and donors and our extraordinary students. 

We hope you enjoyed the dinner, the conversation and the beautiful centerpieces.  They are actually bouquets that we are giving away.  Take a look on the back of your program.  If you find a star there, you are the winner of the bouquet!

Thank you for coming. Good night. Drive safely.