HOBART | Indiana University Northwest Chancellor William Lowe celebrated student scholarship and bestowed his highest honor — The Chancellor's Medallion — on four couples who have rendered distinguished service to the university as well as the community.
The event, in which donors and scholarship recipients came together to celebrate the significance of philanthropy, provided an opportunity for attendees to learn about the profound differences the gift of scholarship makes in an individual's life.
While the university works tirelessly to keep tuition down, university officials said it's the philanthropic support that eases the burden on students.
The four couples who were honored with The Chancellor's Medallion are Milford and Margaret Christenson, Barbara and the late Garrett Cope, John and Betsy MacLennan and Joseph and Joanna Thomas.
"Their efforts have been instrumental in advancing IU Northwest, and, in particular, supporting our greatest asset, our students," Lowe said at the gala celebration at Avalon Manor Thursday night.
The five students who won scholarships and shared their story in a video were DeShanna Alexander, Emerson Neighborhood Scholarship and Hilda Richards Scholarship; Crystal Bunton, Penny MacLennan Memorial Scholarship; Ikechukwu Okafo, IU Northwest General Scholarship; Andres Santiago, Non-traditional Student Scholarship and Leslie P. Singer Memorial Scholarship; and Katherine VanDrie, Ray C. and Josephine K. Thomas Scholarship.
Alexander, 36, of Gary, said her money was running out and she thought she might have to sit out a semester when she learned that she had won the Hilda Richards Scholarship. Richards is a former IU Northwest Chancellor.
Alexander, who is married with four children and works as a surgical tech at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, said she went back to school in 2009 to earn a nursing degree. "The money came at a time when I really needed it. It was a blessing," she said.
During the video, Bunton said she was a stay-at-home mom and the scholarship allows her to earn her degree and spend time with her family. "It is helping me to reach my goal as a dental hygienist," she said.