Scholarships Make a Difference

Thank you Mr. Gindlesberger for the heartfelt comments below about the Shippensburg University Foundation’s most recent Scholarship Dinner and the talented and deserving SU students who receive our scholarships!

Scholarships truly make a difference for Shippensburg Univeristy students. Alumni and friends, if you’ve ever considered establishing a scholarship for the benefit of SU Students, there is no better time than today. There are many ways to fund a scholarship – call the SU Foundation at 717-477-1377 and we can help you find a way that works best for you.

I went to dinner the other night.

I go to a lot of dinners.  But this one was particularly special.

It was at Shippensburg University, and it was a scholarship dinner.  In the room were two groups of people.  First there were those students who had been awarded scholarships to assist them with the finances necessary to attend the university.  And then there were those generous heroes who had donated the money to underwrite the scholarships.

My wife, Maxine, and I sat at a table with six students.  Actually seated with us were five extraordinary students and an empty chair.  The empty chair was for a student who we understood was working on an assignment and could not afford the time away from the project.

After an invocation, we began talking together.  What an eye opener.  It turns out that the students were pursuing studies in high achievement areas.

The first student was taking advanced coursework in management information systems.  This student was preparing for a career in organizing the information needs of a future employer’s organization.  He was building a framework on which to make well-considered operational, tactical, and strategic decisions.  He was hoping someday to design and implement procedures, processes, and routines that would provide detailed analytical reports through modern, computerized systems.

The second was a day trader.  He was a finance major at the John L. Grove College of Business within Shippensburg University.  His course of study had led him to the Brad E. Hollinger Stock Trading Room and its Bloomberg Terminal.  This is a Wall Street trading platform used by investment bankers and equity traders.  Not only had this fellow mastered the course work, but he was actually taking the dollars he was making in a part-time job and investing them smartly, providing him an additional income stream to help pay for his education.

Then there was the young woman who was a biology major and aiming to be a doctor and cardiologist.  There was no mistake in her seriousness about that career.  It is what she wanted, and no one was about to stand in her way.  She had already applied to the best medical schools, been accepted and was preparing her way following college graduation.

The fourth student was studying to be a land planner.  He was considering obtaining a master’s degree and eventual advanced licensure.  I asked him what he expected to accomplish as a land planner.  He hoped that his work would lead to better urban environments in which people could live and work.

And the fifth student was devoted to becoming a social studies teacher.  He wanted to teach high school students about government, geography, history, economics, civic ideals and current events. He was aware of the humdrum of lesson plans, assigning and grading homework, and creating and leading district determined classroom activities.  Yet he felt that he could endow high schoolers with a deeper appreciation of our history, economic system and way of government.  He expressed his concern for how little young people sometimes know today, and how important it is for them to know who we are as Americans, the relevance of our constitution, and how to strengthen the safeguards to preserving our way of life.

These young adults blew me away.

Then the program began.

First were introductions.  Then polite applause.  Short welcoming speeches.  And more polite applause.  More speeches.  My wife’s elbow in my rib cage to keep me awake.  And finally each of three students walked to the podium to express gratitude for the scholarships they had received.  I wish everyone could have heard what these three college students said.

They had each overcome hurdles, to get where they were.  One had to carry the weight of her family when no one else could.  Another was a chemistry major and looking to make discoveries that could benefit humanity.  A third was a person of color who had overcome adversity that would have swallowed and destroyed a lesser person.  The self-confidence and drive for achievement and excellence that these students exuded brought participants to their feet.

We all know that charities need financial support from folks like you.  Whether it be the animal shelter, BOPIC (Building Our Pride in Chambersburg – Jack Jones, Executive Director), the Coyle Free Library, Women in Need, the American Red Cross or your local church.  They all need your support.

Yet the scholarship programs at Shippensburg University, Wilson College, Penn State Mont Alto or at your own alma mater are something that you should carefully consider.  There is no substitute for offering young people the opportunity to gain an education and the capacity to bring positive change to our world.

It is not the scholarship program that benefits.  It is the education of a real life and deserving human being that your money supports.  Your $100, $1,000, $10,000, $100,000 or more to a college or university can make the difference between young people being able to afford an education or not.  Between having dedicated teachers in our schools or not.  Between your having someday a doctor on which your life may depend or not.

Please give until it hurts.  It is your time and talents that make all of the difference.

Bill Gindlesperger is a lifelong central Pennsylvanian, a Trustee at Shippensburg University and the founder and Chairman of eLynxx Solutions, a provider of print buyer’s software for managing direct mail, marketing and print.  He can be reached at