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From the Summer 2007 edition of Bucknell World - Part One:
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Each summer, all across the country, incoming students and their parents are invited to local Bison Gatherings to meet other students and alumni from their area. The gatherings provide students an opportunity to ask questions big and small: How will they adjust to college? What should they pack? More importantly, Bison Gatherings introduce new students to the Bucknell community.
Over the next four years, they will learn that the community at Bucknell extends far beyond the campus and encompasses the many alumni who appreciate their Bucknell experience and want to give back by helping new generations of Bucknellians.
“The value of a Bucknell education continues long after you leave campus,” says Ed Robinson ’86, who has been a member of several Bucknell boards and associations. “It’s a living, breathing thing. The alumni who came before me have opened doors for me, challenged me at various points in my life to be everything I can be, and helped me to understand my responsibility to the institution. In turn, I have always tried to help alumni and students who have come after me. The network continues to grow from generation to generation.”
Funding the future
Come September, Stacey Knepp ’07, who earned a B.A. in classics and comparative humanities, will be at the University of Texas, working toward a master’s degree in humanities, with a specialization in translating Greek and Arabic.
It’s a long way from her hometown of West Decatur, Pa., where most young people, if they dream of college at all, aspire to attend the local campus of Penn State. Knepp wanted more, and she achieved it — thanks to Trustee C. Alan Walker ’66 and the Walker Family Scholarship.
More than 115 Bucknellians from the old mining towns of Clearfield County, Pa., have benefited from the Walker Scholarship since its establishment in 1984. Walker keeps tabs on them all. “Ten of the scholarship recipients have completed medical school or are in medical school. Another is in veterinary school,” he says. “Charity Demko ’98 was the first in her extended family to attend college. She is now a project engineer at TVGA Consultants. Bryan Garman ’90 earned his doctorate and is head of the Wilmington [Del.] Friends School.”
Keeping up with students
Walker keeps up with students and alumni through letters and cards and has not missed a single Scholarship Luncheon in nearly 25 years. “I saw a lot of really bright kids cut off from a college education because of money,” he says. “Educating the next generation is the best investment you can make. My dream is that some of them will come back and fund scholarships for the next generation of Bucknellians.”
The desire to give back has inspired many alumni to fund scholarships. Financial aid made it possible for Robert Tweed ’56 to attend Bucknell, so he and his wife, Lorraine Soresi Tweed ’56, decided to fund a scholarship as a 50th Reunion gift to Bucknell. Chris Peterjohn Richards ’76 received financial assistance from an anonymous donor after her father died. She and her husband, Dan Richards ’78, now fund several scholarships, and they are working toward their goal of funding four students a year.
“We both feel strongly that students need to be given the same opportunities that we had,” Dan explains.
Trustee emeritus and 2007 Stephen Taylor Award honoree Kenneth G. Langone ’57 has helped nearly 70 students since the Langone scholarship was established in 1995. He talks about the letters he receives from those students, who tell him how much a Bucknell education means to them. Langone says he understands, because Bucknell did, and still does, mean that much to him.
“Every single day of my life I think about how lucky I am to be a Bucknellian,” he says. “All of us have an opportunity to give back — not to give — to give back to this place that can so profoundly impact the lives of young people who are the future of America and the future of this world.”
Posted July 19, 2007