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The Power of Giving and Receiving:
2011 Recognition Reception for Donors and Scholars

Scholarship donors and recipients came together in the midst of Connecticut’s historic power outages following a record late October snowstorm, and celebrated the empowerment that the gift of education has brought so many talented and motivated students at Western.

WCSU President James Schmotter captured the spirit of the Nov. 2 Scholarship Recognition Reception in the Grand Ballroom of the Westside Campus Center with his remarks on the powerful impact that donors have had in the lives of the Western students who have benefited from their generosity. The gathering of more than 250, including scholarship donors and recipients of the grants they have made possible, brought together different generations who found common ground for conversation in their mutual interests and passions in fields ranging from music and the arts to science and business.

An important goal of these annual receptions for scholarship donors and student recipients is to provide the opportunity to network and celebrate the good will and enthusiasm that inspire annual giving. Donors and scholars sought out each other upon their arrival for informal conversation to make new introductions, renew old relationships and offer a meaningful way for benefactors to learn first-hand how their scholarships are changing lives.

“It’s one thing to receive notes from student scholars about their activities, but it’s quite powerful to enjoy the personal experience of meeting my scholars in person,” Mario Mesi observed. Mesi, whose donations finance scholarship awards to student majors in nursing and music, added with strong emotion, “The human contact is extraordinary.”

In her talk at the reception, alumna Theresa Eberhard Asch ’64 offered a donor’s point of view. Eberhard Asch, a member of the WCSU Foundation Board of Directors and the Connecticut State University System Board of Trustees, shared her own experiences as a student at Western during the early ‘60s and emphasized the difference it made in her life to be supported by her family in her pursuit of a college education. In 2008 she established a scholarship at WCSU in memory of her late husband, Richard.

David Strout ’10 expressed gratitude to the Western community for the opportunity he found at the university to overcome personal and financial hardship and complete his college education. Recipient of a bachelor’s degree in professional writing, Strout received several grants to finance his studies including the W. Jason and Ellen Hancock Student Scholarship and the WCSU President’s Scholarship.

Strout expressed gratitude for the relationships he built at Western, and urged students at the reception to cherish the bonds they have forged with their scholarship benefactors. Judging from the clusters of students and donors who continued chatting long after the speeches ended, his audience heeded his advice.

Above image: At the annual Recognition Reception for Donors and Scholars, which was held on November 2, 2011, donor Roy Young poses with Keila Fontanez La Salle and Kayla Iorio, recipients of the Young Family Centennial Theatre Arts Scholarship. Homepage image: Donor Mario Mesi shakes hands with Tyler Shaw, recipient of a Sabbaday Student Scholarship.

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