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Dreams and Gratitude Shared at the 2017 Scholarship Reception

During the Scholarship Reception on April 26 where donors met their scholarship recipients, President John Simon ’19P said that without the generosity of those who provide scholarships, Lehigh would not be able to fulfill its commitment to having a need-blind admissions policy. 

An investment in education can come in many forms, but one of the most heartfelt is when someone helps a student attend Lehigh University.

“I was so really excited to meet my donors and say thank you,” said Diana Melendez ’18, a civil engineering student who received the Shelly E. ’79 and Neil S. ’80 Mitchell Endowed Scholarship.

Melendez and many other Lehigh students awarded an endowed scholarship were able to meet their benefactors, extend their appreciation, and share their ambitions at the Scholarship Reception held on April 26 in the Wood Dining Room of Iacocca Hall. 

Sarah Dudney ’17 said that because of the Cutler-Sametz Choral Arts Scholarship, she was able to major in civil engineering and minor in music.

“The Choral Arts Scholarship is actually one of the reasons I came to Lehigh, because it meant that I could pursue a well-respected engineering degree as well as participate in a world-class choir,” said Dudney who sang the National Anthem and the Alma Mater at the 2017 Commencement ceremony. “At a lot of schools, if you want to be in a good choral program, you have to be a music major, and I didn’t want to major in music.”

During the reception, President John Simon ’19P spoke about Lehigh’s commitment to a need-blind admissions policy, in which a student’s admission decision is separated from his or her financial need, a policy that is only offered by roughly 100 institutions. Lehigh is committed to providing 100 percent of demonstrated financial need in the form of financial aid and scholarships. He thanked the donors and said that Lehigh would not be able to fulfill these commitments without the generosity of those who provide scholarships.

“In the future, we are going to experience even greater competition for the best students because of demographic and economic trends,” said Simon. “More students will come from areas beyond Lehigh’s traditional regions and with even greater financial needs. In addition, more young women and men will be from underrepresented populations, and more will be first-generation college students.”

Kevin Ly ’19 and Klaudia Jazwinska ’18, both first-generation college students, spoke about their outstanding Lehigh experience and what it means to them to receive a scholarship. Since Jazwinska, who is majoring in journalism and global studies, was studying in Uganda, Brazil, and India during the spring semester, her message was pre-recorded while in Brazil. She thanked her donor, Ferd Thun ’56, for the Thun and Janssen Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund and spoke about her plans to pursue a career in investigative journalism to explore the complexities of international matters.

A bioengineering major, Ly received the Terence H. Seduski Memorial Scholarship. A sophomore, he founded and is co-president of FIRST, a student organization that seeks to establish a community of first-generation college students and advocates for academic and professional resources.

“I would not be standing here today if it was not for the generosity of my donors. I wouldn’t be able to continue my fascination in protein research or pursue my career in bioengineering. I wouldn’t be able to help first-generation college students succeed on campus,” said Ly. “On behalf of my fellow students, I sincerely thank the Lehigh alumni donors who have made our experiences possible. You have made a difference in our lives.”

Clarke Woodruff ’72 has contributed to two endowed scholarship funds — the Steven Clarke Woodruff ’44 Memorial Scholarship, created by his mother, Ruth, in honor of his father who earned a degree in metallurgy and materials engineering; and the Class of 1972 Fund, established as the senior class gift when Clarke was a student.

“I recognize the responsibility of paying it forward and making sure that the best and brightest can come to Lehigh. And the best way to do that is to endow scholarships,” said Woodruff.

Richard Guyer ’66 ’71G contributed to the W. Richard Guyer ’66 and Walter R. Guyer ’36 Endowed Scholarship that his father, Walter, created.

“With the expense of college today, it’s very difficult for anybody to pay their way through. So, if we can help some of these bright young people attend a place like Lehigh, which is a wonderful experience for them, I think it gives them a great start in life,” said Guyer.

Dawn Thren

Photos by John Kish IV