Giving to Those who Serve: Scholarships Make Concordia More Accessible for Military Families
By Emily Clemenson
For nearly 30 years, Harry Brown ’67 taught high school math overseas for the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. Each of those years, he saw bright students get accepted to good colleges in the United States.
He also saw those students stumble.
“The question they always had for each other was ‘what is the package?’ – meaning ‘how much scholarship money did you get?’” Brown says.
Often, the scholarships awarded weren’t enough to cover the cost of a private education. These sons and daughters of military personnel were unable to attend their top choice schools because their families couldn’t afford it.
“And that really stuck with me,” he says.
Brown, now retired from DoDDS and living in Arizona, was looking for a way to help these students while giving back to his alma mater.
He decided to start a scholarship fund specifically for graduates of the DoDDS system. What started out as an idea to help maybe one student each year has turned into an opportunity to provide three or four students with scholarship money to attend Concordia.
“I thought about my time teaching great students, and I realized I wanted to do something for them,” he says.
Most of Concordia’s scholarship gifts come from private individuals. Concordia offers many different levels of giving that fund scholarships. Annual gifts of $1,000 or more are recognized as part of the C-400 and go directly to student scholarships. Annual gifts of $5,000 or more qualify for the Legacy Fund, where people can name a scholarship after themselves or in memory or honor of someone else.
In 2011-12, Concordia awarded more than $1.9 million from 469 named scholarships. More than 95 percent of students receive financial aid.
If the donor wishes, scholarships can be designated to a certain group, such as by major or geography. This is what Brown decided to do when he chose to restrict his scholarship to graduates of the DoDDS system.
The college usually encourages people to identify both financial need and academic merit when designating a scholarship, says Paul Evenson, a gift planner for Concordia Advancement. This gives the college some flexibility to seek out the students who would benefit the most.
Evenson says that many scholarship donors also plan for their scholarship fund to continue long after they are gone.
“Often, these same donors will include an estate gift in their planning,” he says. “In other words, they will keep on giving into the future lives of countless students.”
And as for Brown, he is thrilled to know that there are three students who are eligible for his scholarship this fall. He hopes to spread the word during the next year, informing students in the DoDDS system that they could get a liberal arts education at Concordia for a very affordable price.
Brown sees the importance of giving back to the college and hopes that other people will see it as well.
“They could do some really great things if they wanted to,” he says.
Photo: Paul Evenson
Interested donors may contact the Concordia College Office of Advancement at (800) 699-9896 or online at www.ConcordiaCollege.edu/giving.