Illinois Wesleyan announces 33 new student scholarships

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Emily Considine

Illinois Wesleyan University announced 33 new named scholarships on Thursday, Oct. 16 at the 18th annual Scholarship Benefactor Dinner. About nine in 10 IWU students receive financial aid each year, made possible by more than $34 million provided by the University.

About 200 scholarship recipients and benefactors attended the dinner, making it one of the largest gatherings so far. Junior Heather Prasse spoke at the dinner about how the Promise Scholarship granted to her by benefactors Susan ‘77 and Herb Getz ‘77 allowed her to attend Illinois Wesleyan.

“The amount of this grant pushed Wesleyan into my reach, and I remember sitting on break at work, silent and stunned,” Prasse said. “Within five minutes, my fears had been vanquished and replaced by excitement and relief. I was going to college. I was going to a great college,”

The University’s Transforming Lives fundraising campaign, that ended on July 31, 2014, raised money for student scholarship support. The campaign’s goal was $30 million; the total amount will be announced at the end of the month.

According to the campaign’s website, Transforming Lives has a goal of $125 million, with nearly eight in every 10 dollars going to build IWU’s endowment, which will enable IWU to continue to attract and retain quality students and faculty. Rarely in the history of our University has it been more important to invest in the people, programs and facilities that enable Illinois Wesleyan to transform lives.

“The willingness of alumni and friends to help meet the financial needs of current students is a proud tradition at Illinois Wesleyan,” President Wilson said. “We are indebted to those who were honored at this dinner and to all those over the years who have made the dream of an Illinois Wesleyan education possible for so many of our students and their families.”

Students with high financial need are generally the main recipients of these named scholarships.  Donors usually choose an academic area or other attribute to support a recipient of their choice.

“My family struggled financially for years with no sign of relief. When I began to look at universities to attend, I stumbled across Illinois Wesleyan at an in-school visit at my high school in Freeport, Illinois. I looked at the statistics regarding entering first-years’ GPAs, average class size and success after college and knew this university would be a great fit,” Prasse said. “The staff I encountered early on in the application process assisted me willingly, working with my unique living situation and status as an independent student.”

The tradition of naming scholarships at Illinois Wesleyan dates back to 1893 when the Board of Trustees chose to honor those contributing $1,000 or more. In 1895, the first named scholarships were designated honoring William W. Anderson of Taylorville and Martha Elzina Cameron of Greenville.