HOBART | Two recent graduates of Indiana University Northwest were honored for their philanthropy Thursday night as the university celebrated 25 years of scholarship at Avalon Manor.
Sisters Marisa and Taylor Kendra, who both earned bachelor's degrees in psychology in 2010 and 2011, respectively, will continue their education together this fall at the IU School of Dentistry.
The two siblings, believed to be the youngest philanthropists to donate to the university, set up a $10,500 endowed scholarship of which $500 will be awarded to a deserving psychology student each academic year. This spring, the first student to be awarded the scholarship was Elise Ozier.
The Kendra sisters, who are following in the footsteps of their parents, said they hope to create an outpouring of younger individuals giving back. Their father, local dentist Mark Kendra, is also a graduate of IU Northwest.
"We hope that in establishing this scholarship, we can become models for other graduates," Taylor Kendra said. "Through this gift, we want to commend those who have worked hard and have remained dedicated to their studies."
The spirit of giving runs deep in the family. This is not the first time the Kendra sisters have set up a scholarship fund for students. They also established a scholarship at Andrean High School.
IU Northwest Chancellor William Lowe said the quarter century of scholarship support from alumni and friends has enabled a generation of IU Northwest students to attain their degrees and transform their lives.
IU President Michael McRobbie said even though there have been cuts in higher education, the university has been able to achieve a great deal, including increased enrollment at all IU campuses. IU Northwest has added a number of degrees, including a bachelor of social work, a master of science in clinical counseling and a master of science in educational leadership.
Thanks to the support of alumni and donors, IU Northwest officials also acknowledged five students who are doing great things at the university. The five scholarship recipients are Emily Hale, Brittni Smith, Miracle Anokwute, Fatima Qaisrani and Megan Pollock.
Anokwute, 18, of Merrillville, is a junior biology and premed student. He is the recipient of the Chancellor's Salutatorian scholarship. Anokwute, who is originally from Nigeria, said he is grateful for the scholarship, which covers all of his expenses and allows him to concentrate on his studies.