Students Thank Donors for Generosity


“Through you, we see how God is faithful to us,” said Rebecca Rhodes, a Hardin-Simmons University senior as she spoke to the donors of endowed scholarships during the Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon April 10, 2014.

Hardin-Simmons University gave qualifying students more than $13,000,000 in scholarships during the 2013-14 academic year. About $2,000,000 of that total came from the donors gathered at the luncheon, each anxious to meet the student or students chosen to receive their scholarship.

“I see the sacrifices that people make to help students. People here have given because you were more important to them than that thing they could have purchased,” said Mike Hammack, HSU vice president for institutional advancement, as he addressed the students at the luncheon.

“As joyous as you may be feeling about the money you have received, a day will come when you will have the opportunity to pave the path for the next generation. One day many of you receiving these gifts will be the donors of them. The real joy will come then, when you take the seat of the person next to you,” said Hammack.

As the scholarship donor chosen to be this year’s featured speaker, Betty Mann related the story of how she and her husband Eddie were able to set up an endowed scholarship. They were prompted by Betty’s son, Glenn, a 1979 HSU graduate and now music teacher in Killeen, Texas.

“When I think of this life, it is such a small part of our eternal lives. Each of us has that marvelous gift that Christ has brought us,” said Mann, illustrating a central theme of eternal life and the importance of what we do while on Earth.

Betty related the story of her husband’s family, German immigrants settling in South Dakota to escape the growing chaos of what would eventually become World War II. The cold north of the Dakotas, along with drought, sand storms, and grasshoppers, influenced the family to later move to South Texas, she said.

The lower Rio Grande Valley would prove to be a tough landscape of cactus, mesquite, and rattlesnakes. The family settled to eke out a living from the land, starting a small dairy farm. “Eddie and his brother, George, worked hard to make that land into a prosperous dairy, doing a superb job,” she said.

The Manns would later move to Yorktown, Texas, and start another flourishing dairy, but as it was soon to be seen, the land was destined to deliver more than milk.

“They started punching holes all around there,” exclaimed Betty with arms flung wide to show the breadth of affected land. “Black Gold, Texas Tea, and pockets started filling up with money,” she said.

One of the recipients of the scholarship is Rebecca Rhodes, senior art and ministry major from Grand Prairie, Texas.

“When I was looking for a university to attend, I applied to nine schools. I chose Hardin-Simmons because I knew I had a good future here and the majors at HSU were a good fit for me,” said Rhodes, who chose HSU over a full-ride scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin.

“HSU provided the scholarships I needed to help with my degree. Mostly, I want to challenge all of the students here to think about the generosity of those around us and to think about what that generosity has meant to you.”

The annual luncheon gave about 80 students the opportunity to personally thank those responsible for helping with their education.

Rhodes plans to graduate this May and hopes to begin a career as a hospital chaplain.




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