(February 2, 2011)
Contact: Rick DelaHaya, Centenary News Services, 318.869.5073
Endowed Scholarships give the gift of higher education
SHREVEPORT, La. (Centenary News Service) — How can the philanthropic efforts of one couple that graduated from Centenary College more than 60 years ago affect the educational aspirations of a present-day student from Bryan, Texas?
It's simple. Through their investment in an endowed scholarship, their paths will be forever linked.
Skylar Miskimen became interested in attending Centenary College after listening to the College choir perform at her high school. Having never heard of Centenary before, the concert exposed her for the first time to the possibility of leaving her home in Texas and moving to Northwest Louisiana.
She was interested, but still wasn't quite sure.
"The choir sang at our high school and then handed out some literature," said Skylar. "It was the first I heard of Centenary, but after the performance, they drew me in and I wanted to know more."
Skylar took the pamphlets to her next class, a math class that just happened to be taught by Stacey Stokes, a Centenary College alumna who graduated in 2008, and who was now teaching algebra and geometry at her high school.
"She was excited that I was even thinking about Centenary," said Skylar. "She told me all about the College and what I could expect. From her description, it sounded like the perfect fit."
After a visit to the campus, she decided that Centenary was the place for her.
But she still wasn't quite sure. She wasn't sure if she could afford it.
At Centenary, endowed scholarships are a critical part of helping students like Skylar benefit from a Centenary education.
The cost to attend a private college across the country has increased over the past years, and while Centenary has remained among the most affordable options among the regions private institutions, tuition and fees remains an obstacle for many. At Centenary 85 percent of the undergraduate students receive some type of financial aid in the form of scholarships and grant assistance.
"Centenary is committed to ensuring that no academically qualified student is turned away because they can't afford to attend college," said Mary Sue Rix, Director of Financial Aid. "Privately funded merit, talent and need-based scholarships are crucial to providing students with the financial resources they need to attend and be successful at Centenary. It is through their success that the College creates a legacy of quality education."
It is through the generosity of donors who recognize the importance of private scholarship support, that students such as Skylar are able to attend the College of their dreams.
Through generous gifts by friends of the College, a number of scholarships have been established. One such scholarship is the Robert L. and Jessica H. Goodwin Endowed Scholarship. The couple graduated from the College in the mid 20th Century and established the scholarship in 1999 which provides tuition assistance for students with financial need. This year, Skylar was the recipient.
"These are the types of gifts to the College that allow more students to attend," said Mickey Quinlan, Director of Admission. "It is through the generosity of donors such as the Goodwins that ensures the important legacy of an accessible liberal arts education. Gifts such as these make it possible for deserving students to seek Centenary College's highly-regarded undergraduate degree."
The legacy of their scholarship grew when the College recently received an extraordinary gift from the Goodwins in the form of an additional gift of $1 million for their scholarship endowment.
Both Robert ('50) and Jessica ('44) are alumni of the College and took great pride in their Alma Mater. Robert was from Shreveport and New Orleans, and unfortunately, recently passed away last year. He was elected to the Centenary Board of Trustees in 1996 and elected to the Centenary Hall of Fame in 1999.
During their life together, Robert and his wife of 59 years established their endowed scholarship, and as part of his final estate, he provided the gift for the scholarship.
"Mr. Goodwin was an alumnus of Centenary as well as a respected business leader, and a faithful member of his United Methodist church," said Scott Rawles, Vice President for Advancement. "Through his generosity we can now add that he and his wife Jessica are also philanthropists whose gifts will benefit countless future generations of Centenary College students."
Today, students across the campus such as Skylar benefit from the generosity of friends of the College such as the Goodwins. In addition to providing financial assistance, scholarships also serve to attract outstanding scholars from across the region and across the nation to Centenary. These students contribute new ideas, fresh perspectives and enrich the academic, social and cultural programs on campus.
Establishing a named endowed scholarship is an ideal opportunity to permanently link a donor's name, or the name of someone the donor wishes to honor, with the traditions and future of Centenary. Just as the name attached to an endowed scholarship will be held in perpetuity at the College, so also will a service be rendered to current and future students.
"I am grateful for what the Goodwins and donors like them have provided," said Skylar. "Without their generosity and commitment to the College, I would have never been able to attend Centenary. Their gift is my opportunity to succeed."
About Centenary College of Louisiana
Centenary College is a private, four-year arts and sciences college affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1825, it is the oldest chartered liberal arts college west of the Mississippi River and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Centenary is one of 16 colleges and universities constituting the Associated Colleges of the South and has been recognized as "One of the Best 373 Colleges" by the Princeton Review and one of "America's Best Colleges" and one of "America's Best Private Colleges" by Forbes.com. In 2008 Centenary College celebrated 100 years in Shreveport and Bossier City.