A Community of Scholars Making a World of Difference
The sun is setting across the remnants of our first snow of the season outside my office window as I write this to you. It is truly hard to believe we have arrived in December yet again. While the journey has been different this fall, the impact of your support and giving has never been greater. Let me share with you some of the great ways you have made a difference this past year.
Your support for scholarships has made the difference for so many or our Minnesota State University, Mankato students. Fall 2021 marked the third year of the Student Affairs Retention Scholarship and with your support we awarded three $1,000 scholarships to students who are becoming a pilot, studying psychology while fighting a rare kidney disease, and preparing to be a computer engineer as a first-generation immigrant from Nigeria. These three students are tremendous examples of the promise and challenges that many of our students are facing.
At a recent luncheon for our Presidential Scholars ($5,000 scholarship a year) I had the opportunity to join President Inch at a table with three upper-class students preparing for the end of their semester and for two of them, the beginning of life after college. The first December graduate will be starting her career at Federated Insurance in Owatonna, where she will be focused on debugging software. Our second December graduate will be working as an emergency department nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System’s Mankato Hospital. Our third Presidential Scholar is a junior with some time on his hands, but not much. You see he is a mechanical engineering major who is interested in working at a company where he can apply his knowledge to solve their engineering needs and help people. Of course, this sounds like every engineer I ever met. He then followed it up by sharing that he continues to drive to Madelia, MN almost every night because the local pizza restaurant is shorthanded, and he thinks it is important to help keep them afloat to serve the locals. The pandemic has created some new challenges for all of us, and it is exciting to see three students responding in their own ways to help others.
Throughout the fall, I am lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with many of you who stop by to visit at Homecoming, sporting events, or just traveling through. A recent visit from a long-time supporter and former faculty member from Colorado, and sometimes Alabama, stopped by to meet his scholar and spend some time with me to learn how things are just going. In the bustle of our daily work, home life, and concern for our own health, it was a welcome respite to share, learn, and laugh about our own challenges. I do not think we solved too many of the world’s problems, but the time together was an important reminder of what this University means to so many of us.
I choose to work at Minnesota State Mankato because I believe in our mission, the passion of our faculty, and the dedication of our staff to serve students who want to make a difference. My wife, Dr. Jennifer Jones a 1992 Alum, and I choose to give to this University because of the many students who need that little extra bit of support to help keep them on track toward their goals. From our premier Presidential Scholars to our students struggling with the balancing act of school and part-time work, we both know our gift makes a difference.
Thank you for all your support this year and please consider reaching out to me to ask how you can help. My best wishes to you and yours this holiday season. See you in 2022!
David P. Jones, Ph.D.