The Clayton State Retirees Association (CSRA) recently completed establishing a fully-endowed graduate student scholarship for the University, reaching its initial goal of raising the minimum $25,000 required for an endowed scholarship
The idea for establishing an endowed scholarship originated with retirees Robert Koermer and Don Phillips in 2005, prior to Clayton State rolling out its first graduate program, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies.
"Don and I agreed to propose establishing a scholarship fund which would award scholarships to graduate students,” says Koermer. “At that time, there were no scholarships for graduate students. We met with representatives from the Office of Development to devise a fund-raising plan, and the CSRA Executive Council voted to establish the Clayton State Retirees Scholarship Fund in October 2006.”
The goal behind the scholarship was for the retirees to build a bridge connecting their past with the future of the University, and by so doing, make a difference to future generations of students. In addition, the scholarship gives retirees an opportunity to demonstrate their continued support of the University and to be actively engaged in continuing a legacy of excellence established through many years of service to Clayton State.
It should be noted that the CSRA could not have reached its goal in five years without the support, encouragement, and assistance provided by the staff in the Office of Development.
"From the beginning, members of the CSRA were undaunted in their determination to create an endowment and to award scholarships along the way,” says Director of Development Reda Rowell. “So many individuals worked diligently to design a scholarship award and to raise the necessary funds. By making personal financial contributions, and creatively coming up with fund-raising ideas, their persistence paid off in the form of achieving their $25,000 initial goal.
“Having passed this milestone, they continue their fund-raising efforts so that students will be positively impacted far into the future. It has been our pleasure in the Developmental Office to provide our creativity and support to their ideas and we share in the excitement of their success."
Fund raising for the scholarship began in 2007 with an appeal to the members of the CSRA and with the first fund-raising event in October of that year.
"Regrettably, Don Phillips passed away prior to the first fund-raising campaign but with generous support of CSRA members and other contributors, the initial campaign raised over $10,000,” recalls Koermer.
To date, approximately $33,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund, and $5,000 has been awarded to graduate students. Awards have gone to;
Barbara G. James (2007-08) MA in Liberal Studies
Shane Bell (2008-09) MA in Liberal Studies
Debra Curry (2009-10) MS in Nursing
Talisa Clark (2010-11) MBA
Jessica Renee Reed (2011-12) MHA
Since the endowment fund does not generate enough interest to cover the annual scholarship, the CSRA will continue its fund-raising efforts in order to add to the endowment and to provide the annual $1000 scholarship for a graduate student. The CSRA has received support for its scholarship fund from many sources. Individuals can support this project by;
1. Making a contribution to the fund
2. Attending the annual fund-raising event
3. Making a contribution and selecting from the following gifts:
- A beautiful commemorative plate - in color - featuring the CSRA swan logo (designed by retiree Tommy Daughtry) on one side and the 40th anniversary Clayton State logo on the other side
- A lovely set(s) of bird, flower, or swan note cards featuring drawings, also designed by Daughtry.
4. Becoming a member of the CSRA.
Contributions to the Clayton State Retirees Scholarship Fund can be sent to: Clayton State University Foundation CSRA, 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow, GA, 30260-1250.