It took them five years of fundraising, but the PSU operating staff (OS) raised the funds to endow a scholarship at the University and have made their first award.
“Our group wanted to do something for the students,” said Debbie Underwood, administrative assistant for the residential life office. “We wanted to give back to the students who have given so much to us. We’ve all worked with student workers in our offices, and we’ve developed close relationships.”
Underwood is a member of the Operating Staff Scholarship Committee, along with Diane Tillotson, senior business services assistant in the advancement office; Fran Bean, administrative assistant in the admission office; and Wendy Burnham, administrative assistant in the mathematics department.
Since 2000, the group has held fundraising events like the annual Thanksgiving turkey raffle, bake sales, craft sales, even a car wash, and raised about half of the $5,000 needed for an endowed scholarship. The rest came from donations. Tillotson said, “We’ve received a lot of support from people on campus and in the community,” citing donations from Sodexho and Silver Center and local businesses, among others, for the fundraising events.
USNH Chancellor Stephen J. Reno praised the group’s efforts. “This is a wonderful gesture, a major accomplishment and an initiative that will make a real difference in the lives of PSU students,” he said. “It is also so very representative of the culture of caring of caring for students that I have observed among the staff at PSU.”
After the endowment was announced on campus, an anonymous donor was so impressed that he or she matched the amount with the gift of another $5,000 enabling them to double the amount of the scholarship award. The group plans to continue its fundraising efforts so that the endowment can grow every year.
At Convocation on May 19, the first award went to Matthew Friend, a rising senior communication studies major with a minor in business administration. “Matt maintains a Dean’s List standing, works part time on campus and is involved in a varsity sport, ” said Tillotson. “He credits PSU with providing a positive atmosphere for students to grow and achieve their goals, and is grateful for what PSU has done for him.”—Marcia L. Santore
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