By Clark Murray | Echo
For those searching for financial aid, Taylor has acquired 35 new scholarships.
Students tend to view scholarships as one of the best things they can receive in their college career. There are scholarships that can be given in a wide array of fields and in various amounts. On campus alone, 97 percent of students receive some sort of financial aid.
Director of Scholarships Michael Mortensen ('91), a donor himself, is excited about these new scholarship opportunities.
"Taylor started Fiscal Year 2018 with 523 scholarships (451 endowed and 72 annual), and this number will increase to over 550 by May 31," Mortensen said. "We're in the process of dramatically increasing our number of scholarships and scholarship funds raised, but this does not happen overnight. We need students to help us by writing their (thank you) notes and working to establish relationships with donors when given the chance."
Students should also be reminded that communication with the financial aid office is crucial if they are looking for a potential scholarship. With the recent acquisition, any students who fear they may not be able to return to Taylor should be in contact as soon as possible. Financial aid matches students based off of GPA and donors' requirements.
Donors are coming to campus to meet recipients on Saturday, April 28. Donors desire to have relationships with their recipients that create a lasting bond. The time of the event is 3-4:14 p.m., and will be a come-and-go event. 250 students and donors will be attending.
Scholarships are funded from a myriad of donors, including some with impactful backgrounds regarding why they donate.
Andy Tratogot ('60) is one of the recent donors. He is establishing a scholarship in order to honor his late wife Nancy (Cimbalo) Tratogot ('57).
The family of Josh Vahle ('16), who recently passed unexpectedly, has set up a scholarship in his name for men's cross-country students.
"Also, today (Thursday), we received some great news that a foundation we sent a proposal last year, but not yet this year, sent us a second $100,000 gift for their scholarship," said Mortensen. "This check puts us around $1.8 million for the fiscal year just for endowed and annual scholarships (This does not include gifts we're receipting for the Taylor Scholarship Fund)".
This unexpected gift, coupled with scholarship gifts the university receives between now and May 31, may set a record in scholarship giving.
Mortensen also presented his own experience in meeting with recipients on the donor side. He created a scholarship last year in memory of his son, Jonathan, who passed away due to Batten disease.
"I became emotional, because I knew Jonathan's life was helping our recipient even in his death," Mortensen said. "It has been so meaningful for our family to have a relationship with our student."
Donors desire for someone to be blessed with an opportunity that they can use to better equip the rest of the world. Recipients should follow up and thank donors who provided the scholarship and make it a priority to attend the Celebration of Scholarship.
Assistant Professor of Communication Jeanne Sigworth talked about her own experience when she received scholarships while in college, as well as the impact they had on her life.
"I received scholarships that really supported me; I wouldn't be here (as a professor) if I wouldn't have gotten them," Sigworth said. "Scholarships do what you can't do for yourself. It makes the impossible, possible."
Mortensen believes that scholarships are a lifetime blessing. He stresses the importance of Taylor alumni contributing to scholarships.
Sophomore Paula Todhunter said it feels validating to receive scholarships.
"My scholarships give me an opportunity to attend Taylor with a little less stress on how to pay student loans at the end of it all," Todhunter said.