You might think putting $1,000 toward someone’s college education wouldn’t make much of a dent in the overall tuition… but think again.
“One of my favorite stories is about a young woman who had exhausted every avenue to pay her tuition,” says Dr. Angie Fincannon, vice chancellor for advancement at Purdue University Fort Wayne. “She was planning to withdraw from school to get a job and raise money to hopefully return in the future. In the nick of time, our financial aid office awarded her a $1,000 scholarship from the Sheila Scott Education fund, coincidentally, the exact amount she was short. This student came back, graduated and went on to become a teacher. In this case, $1,000 made the difference between our community having a qualified teacher who is passionate about helping her students and having that person dropping out of school. That money made all the difference in the world.”
Fincannon has many more stories about students at Purdue University Fort Wayne (formerly Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne) achieving their goals thanks to the generosity of donors.
“I love being able to share stories like that – it puts a skip in my step every day,” she says. “There are so many people in our community who really believe in what we are doing. They have had their own lives impacted in wonderful ways because of opportunities afforded them. These wonderful people find it a privilege to give back so other students can have the opportunity to achieve just as they have experienced.”
Purdue Fort Wayne’s Advancement Division strives to promote, advocate, communicate and connect the university through stakeholder engagement and support. One of the ways it does this is by building a network of friends and alumni in which funds are raised for scholarships, research, faculty engagement and student programs. More than 60 percent of the money it raises each year goes to support students through named scholarships and programs.
Fincannon says a misconception sometimes exists that state-supported universities do not need financial support for scholarships.
“We have a wide spectrum of students here at Purdue Fort Wayne and many could not attend or graduate from college if they did not receive a scholarship. Our newest fundraising endeavor was to create a food pantry because our staff in Student Affairs realized some students can’t afford to buy food. Our students are so determined and motivated to graduate. It’s really amazing.”
Fincannon points out there are more than 59,000 alumni of the school, half of whom live and work in the Fort Wayne region. With so many people who have received training for their professions right here, she hopes they will support the university’s current and future students.
“Donors can create a scholarship at Purdue Fort Wayne for as little as $2,000. They can use that gift to help students and honor a loved one by naming that scholarship for him or her. They can also create scholarships to honor cherished friends, memorable occasions such as an anniversary or special birthday or on behalf of a business.”
This spring, some 1,800 students will graduate from the university. Fincannon says she has the best seat in the house when it comes to seeing the countless success stories walk across the stage.
“I am overjoyed to sit on the stage and, as I look out I see children cheering for moms and dads, I see parents cheering, I see husbands and wives cheering. This isn’t just small stakes for some of these people. They’re giving it their all so they can better their lives, their families’ lives and be happy, productive members of our community.”
Address: 2101 E. Coliseum Blvd. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46805
Phone: (260) 481-6675