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Philanthropy, global education celebrated at Elon’s scholarship dinner

The March 11 event connected the recipients of endowed scholarships with donors for an evening of fellowship in McKinnon Hall.

The March 11 scholarship dinner held in McKinnon Hall.

A crowd of 200 people gathered on campus March 11 for a reception and dinner that provided scholarship recipients the opportunity to thank donors who have helped make their Elon educations possible. The event, which takes place every other year, recognizes the impact of donors who endow both need- and talent-based scholarships at Elon. This year’s event also coincided with the university’s Founders Day, which recognizes those who helped establish Elon College in 1889.

Jim Piatt, vice president for university advancement, offered opening remarks that introduced the evening’s theme of global education and conveyed the importance of community at Elon. Piatt also expressed gratitude to “each person here as we both acknowledge and pay tribute to the connection between donors of endowed scholarships and their recipients.” 

Following a performance of the Elon Music Ambassadors’ program, “Beyond the Sky,” President Leo M. Lambert shared the importance of scholarships at Elon.

“You have made it possible to create the rich set of relationships that exist on this campus by helping us bring these students to Elon,” Lambert said. “With scholarships, we are able to bring the most wonderful and interesting people to this campus to help create one of the most extraordinary learning environments in the world.”

Senior Colby Halligan and President Leo M. Lambert at Elon's scholarship dinner.

Lambert also introduced the evening’s student speaker, Elon senior Colby Halligan. The Vermont native and endowed scholarship recipient spoke about the life-changing nature of philanthropy and the difficult circumstances that her scholarship has helped her overcome.  

“I am a proud recipient of the Susan Scholarship, and I want to sincerely thank every donor here today for providing students not only their educations, but vehicles for them to discover their passions, explore the world, cultivate meaningful relationships and imagine,” said Halligan, who grew up in a low-income household with four siblings and recently lost her mother to cancer.

As an Elon student, Halligan has studied abroad in five countries including Kenya and Nicaragua. She credits her international experiences with shaping her goal to work to eradicate hunger in developing countries. She is the recipient of two Elon awards, the Ward Family Learning in Action Award and the Iris Holt McEwen Community Service Award, and a member of the Class of 2015 Periclean Scholars. In 2014 she received a Udall Scholarship, the nation's premier academic award for students dedicated to careers in the environment, tribal public policy or Native American health care.

“Global education has helped me cultivate my passions, something I never dreamed of as a low-income student. Being a global citizen does not just mean exploring diverse cultures and expanding your comfort zone; it’s also about cultivating relationships with individuals that inspire you to live wholeheartedly.”

To learn more about endowed scholarships at Elon, visit Elon’s giving website.

Megan McClure,
3/12/2015 4:10 PM