“So this is like an adopt-a-student program,” said Lindsey Hollin, C’00, when a representative of Sewanee approached her about setting up a Cornerstone Scholarship. That idea appealed to Hollin, and she agreed to make a four-year commitment at $5,000 per year, which will allow her not only to support a Sewanee student, but to follow that student’s Sewanee career, through letters, an annual stewardship luncheon, and other opportunities.
Cornerstone Scholarships are established at the $5,000 and $10,000 levels. Donors who make a four-year commitment can “name” the scholarship, with the Cornerstone Scholarship a part of a specific student’s financial aid package. At the $10,000-per-year level, donors are able to add preferences, such as academic interest or geographic origin of the student. “I think the Cornerstone Scholarship is such a great idea, and I am in a place where I can do that for a Sewanee student,” Hollin says. “I was able to go to Sewanee without paying the bill for it. A lot of students don’t have that opportunity without being stressed or amassing a lot of student loan debt. I just hope to help alleviate those things through my gift.”
While Cornerstone Scholarships are not new, they have been reconfigured in 2016–17 to anchor a change in the way the University of the South handles Sewanee Fund donations. In the past, gifts to the Sewanee Annual Fund were made to general support. After many conversations and consulting with colleagues from other institutions, the Sewanee Fund staff proposed that any gift to current operations—including Cornerstone Scholarships—be part of the Sewanee Fund. Sewanee Fund donors have the option of providing general support or designating gifts for scholarships, internships, research projects, civic engagement activities, athletic teams, and other programs—thus aligning philanthropy to the donor’s interests.
Since gift officers began promoting Cornerstone Scholarships last fall, alumni have funded scholarships for 20students. “We are finding this opportunity for immediate impact is something many donors find attractive,” notes Robert Black, assistant vice president for advancement. “We and they like the way we are able to connect people through the act of philanthropy that makes the gift so much more meaningful.”
A major priority of Stronger Truer Sewanee—The Campaign for the University of the South is building substantial new resources for financial aid. “We have had wonderful donors step up to build our scholarship endowment,” says Black. “The Cornerstone Scholarship will be another critical piece of the funding for Sewanee students in the coming years, and we hope many will want to get behind this program.”
If you are interested in a gift that goes beyond current-use dollars, named endowed internship funds begin at the $100,000 level. Named endowed scholarship funds begin at the $150,000 level for the College and $75,000 for the School of Theology.