Starr’s initiative on track to hit goal

By Linda Wilkins

The President’s Scholarship Initiative has reached $43 million and is on track to reach its goal of $100 million by May 2013, Ali Abercrombie, assistant vice president and campaign director, said.

With combined efforts of groups such as Student Foundation, student government and donors, the initiative has seen an increase in fundraising involvement and is continuing toward the goal set by President Ken Starr in September 2010.

In an interview Thursday, Student Body President Zach Rogers said he hopes more students will become involved in the scholarship initiative.

He said student government will host a townhall meeting Feb. 21 with Provost Elizabeth Davis to discuss the strategic plan, and the scholarship initiative is “a large component of that.” The meeting will be in the Bill Daniel Student Center Den.

“Current students will one day be alumni and the initiative creates a culture of giving,” Rogers said. “We are called to give; this is a biblical principle.”

Lizzy Davis, director of Student Foundation, said the foundation’s goal every year is to raise money for student scholarships, which go toward the initiative.

Members of the group also donate their own money, Louisburg, Kan., senior Paul Baumgardner, a co-president of Student Foundation, said.

“Our mission is very visible in our organization because over 85 percent of our members have personally donated to the fund,” Baumgardner said.

Davis said Student Foundation has collected $1,100 from members so far this year, but she hopes the foundation will surpass their total from last year, which was nearly a full scholarship amount of $2,000.

Student Foundation also raises money through Bearathon, which will be held March 24, and sign-ups are currently taking place. Baumgardner said the fundraiser will feature a 5K run, which is approximately 3.1 miles, and a half-marathon, which is approximately 13.1 miles.

The foundation hopes to surpass their numbers from last year, which counted 1,699 participants for a total of $35,000 raised, Davis said.

Davis and Baumgardner said the next scholarship deadline, which is open to students of any classification, is 5 p.m. today. The scholarship application can be found online on the Student Foundation page.

Donations to the Honors College scholarship fund also help in reaching the President’s Scholarship Initiative goal.

However, they are not given directly for that purpose, Thomas Hibbs, dean of the Honors College, said, because the donation still goes into the total for the initiative.

Sunday, the Honors College held a community dinner to honor four different families who had made donations for endowed scholarships.

Joseph and Kelly Armes, Ted and Sue Getterman, and Tommye Lou Davis were among the donors, along with one other couple.

That couple was C. Clifton and Betsy Robinson, who made an initial agreement in 2007 to donate $1 million dollars every year for five years, Hibbs said.

Their agreement ended this year, bringing their donations to an accumulation of $5 million.

At the dinner Sunday, Starr reiterated the importance of scholarships and the importance of recruiting students. Hibbs said the initiative helps bring students to Baylor who otherwise might not have been able to attend.

“It is important to drive for scholarships and keep them at the forefront of our minds,” Hibbs said.