Concord University Holds Donor Appreciation Banquet
Athens, W.Va. – The Concord University Foundation hosted a Donor Appreciation Banquet on Monday, April 14, 2008, with 200 guests in attendance. The annual event honors scholarship donors and gives students an opportunity to thank some of those who generously support CU students. This year’s banquet featured many guest speakers: family and friends of donors, as well as grateful student recipients.
Mr. David Barnette, president and chair of the Concord University Foundation, served as the emcee for the evening.
Mr. Patrick McGraw of Cleveland, Ohio, represented a scholarship established for a Concord student interested in the science field. He spoke about his connection with Concord. Even though he never attended the school, he said, “I owe my existence to Concord.” His mother, Elizabeth, attended Concord, where she met her husband and Patrick’s father, Delfred McGraw. The scholarship is named for Delfred McGraw but was also meant to honor S.L McGraw ’25, Delfred’s father and Patrick’s grandfather. S.L. returned to Concord and worked as a professor, registrar, and director of admissions. Patrick’s Concord ties do not stop there. His grandmother’s brother, Virgil Harvey Stewart, served as the fourth president of Concord from 1945 to 1959. Patrick McGraw said of his scholarship, “When we look closely at this institution, we [. . .] see not just [. . .] a focus of sentimental attachment on family history, but an institution that [. . .] is worth supporting now because it is serving students and a region whose educational needs might not be met if Concord were not here and were not given adequate public and private resources.”
The next speaker was Mr. Michael Kinder, a junior at Concord, who spoke of the high quality of education students currently receive through Concord’s technology. Michael pointed out that despite the rising costs of tuition; students are still able to find financial support in many places, including the Concord University Foundation, which has an endowment of more than $27 million. Mr. Kinder remarked, “All of this is in thanks to generous individuals like you. Without you, many would not be able to enjoy the life provided at Concord. Your benevolent donations have carried students on to the rest of their lives, providing them with opportunities that no one else has been able to offer them. May future Concord students understand how fortunate they are to be here, thanks to your generosity.”
Ms. Hildred Allard, a native of Summers County, established a music scholarship for Summers County students interested in church music. She mentioned Dr. and Ms. Beasley as an inspiration to her and her husband. “With their outstanding education and credentials, they could have had any choice of positions, but they chose Athens and Concord College. What a positive difference you have made in southern West Virginia.”
Next was a freshman student scholarship recipient, Mr. Paul Redden, of Athens. Paul mentioned that, as a person with an eye for a good bargain, Concord University was exactly the financial fit for him. As a high school sophomore, he attended Concord’s Summer Academy and found that “Concord really is the academic and rigorous institution that it claims to be.” Paul also said, “If it wasn’t for the support of Concord’s distinguished alumni, my parents and I would not have been able to afford the cost of college. Now I have no debts to repay. This scholarship has empowered me, and thanks to it, I’m able to seek out new opportunities and undertake a risk. Although I currently have no more than two cents to rub together, I plan on becoming Concord’s most generous supporter one day.”
Mr. Jerry Willis of Wytheville, Va., attended Concord for two years. He has set up a scholarship for a student interested in pursuing a career in chiropractic medicine. He mentioned many of the fundraising activities, such as golf tournaments, that his family conducts in order to raise money for these funds. “It is our hope that when we help people, and they reach financial stability, they should repeat the giving; it should be a process.”
The final speaker was Ms. Corrie McKee, a senior scholarship recipient of Nitro, W.Va. Corrie explained how she had transformed from a shy, timid freshman to an outgoing senior at Concord. She said, “I believe that you, as donors and financial supporters of Concord, have helped to contribute to this positive change in my life. If it were not for your support, I would not have found such a nurturing community, and I would certainly not be the person I am today. Now, as a senior, I am able to graduate completely without debt. For this, I am wholeheartedly grateful; thank you for blessing me and my family.”
The 2008 Concord University Foundation Award of Excellence Honoree was then given two unique paintings, one being a rendition of the future University Point, and the second, an illustration of Marsh Hall. This year’s Honoree was Concord’s 17th President, Dr. Jerry Beasley, for his contributions to Concord’s scholarship programs, to the Foundation, and to the University. Emcee and Foundation Chair David Barnette said, “Dr. Beasley has provided leadership; he has provided a stabilizing influence; and he has epitomized what a West Virginia college – and now university – president should be.”
“Our giving to Concord is only just beginning,” Dr. Beasley said in conclusion.
PHOTO: Ms. Hildred Allard
PHOTO: Ms. Corrie McKee
PHOTO: Dr. Jerry Beasley
Corrie McKee, a senior majoring in English and Journalism wrote this news release. Her hometown is Nitro.