Columbia College held its first Honors and Awards luncheon in a packed Dulany Hall banquet room in mid-April.
Contributors' support of scholarships and awards has been essential to the mission and identity of Christian and Columbia College from inception. The Honors and Awards luncheon, however, was the first time scholarship and award recipients could meet contributors to thank them in person, and contributors meet grateful recipients.
About 100 contributors and recipients sat, dined and listened to President Gerald Brouder, Dr. Terry Smith, executive vice president and dean for Academic Affairs and Michael Kateman, executive director of Development, Alumni and Public Relations, speak on the importance of philanthropy, especially in these trying economic times.
"Everyone in this room has been impacted by philanthropy," said Smith. "This event is tangible proof of your commitment to students." Smith added that as dean of Academic Affairs and an individual who can dispense scholarships and awards, he heard "wonderful stories, sometimes deeply sad stories" about students undergoing extreme hardships. He added that it was a joy to see these students' academic and personal lives bloom because of a much-deserved scholarship.
Smith said it wasn't just alumni but the college as a whole that was committed to scholarships, and asked faculty who had contributed to scholarships to stand – and there wasn't one or two; the total was closer to 10. This number represents only a portion of faculty contributors. Many could not attend due to classes or other conflicts.
Brouder then spoke, saying it was the college's financial strength, even with a decrease of endowment, that allowed the college to continue to offer scholarships. "Columbia College continues to prosper in difficult times," he said. "And philanthropy is more important than ever."
Philanthropy is power"Philanthropy is power," echoed Kateman. "Philanthropy changes lives. So it is only right and true that we celebrate its power." Kateman added that he, his sister, and his children had personally been touched by the power of philanthropy: his mother, then a nursing student, was the recipient of a scholarship but never got to thank her benefactor.
That wasn't a problem at the lunch: Lynette Roebuck, the first recipient of the Georgia Kateman RN Nursing Scholarship, sat at the table with Kateman, his parents and sister, a seating arrangement repeated through the room.
"The support in this room is enormous!" Kateman said. "It is so rewarding to unleash the power of the human spirit."
Virginia Jones Sinclair '49, who contributes to the Class of 1949 Scholarship, agreed. "It's just wonderful to see this, to meet young people, and know that they will receive the same good education that we had. It gives you faith in the younger generation." Sinclair sat with and got to know better Class of 1949 Scholarship recipient Jodie Schultz.
Dr. Joe Carrier, assistant professor of Criminal Justice Administration, struck a more somber note. One of his students, Molly Bowden '02, was shot and killed in 2005, the first Columbia, Mo., police officer to die from an assault in the line of duty. Carrier said he, with the vigorous support of Brouder and Bowden's parents, got a memorial scholarship up and running in just one year.
A memorial tree with a plaque also has been planted in Bowden's honor, with a dedication ceremony in late May.
David and Beverly Thomas '88, '92, Bowden's mother and father, also were in attendance at the luncheon, as was the third recipient of the Molly Bowden Scholarship, Magdalene Pride. "We started the scholarship in February 2005, just after we lost Molly," said Bowden's father, David Thomas. "It's sad to lose her, but to establish this scholarship in her honor, it's just awesome. It makes her sacrifice worthwhile."
The scholarship provides full tuition to female sophomores from Missouri majoring in criminal justice administration or forensic science. Carrier said the scholarship was a fitting tribute to Bowden.