Saying 'Thank You'
Ohio Northern University’s generous alumni and friends give back to the University each year in many ways. Foremost among them is the endowed scholarship program, which awards deserving students with financial assistance needed to attend ONU.
In an average year, more than 600 students receive nearly $4 million in aid from scholarships funded entirely from donors.
These scholarships truly make a difference in the recipients’ lives. For some, an endowed scholarship is the sole reason they are able to pursue higher education. It’s how they afford textbooks and lab fees and other academic necessities. It’s why they get to call themselves Polar Bears.
The significance of these contributions is not lost on the students who benefit from them. It is an Ohio Northern tradition for endowed scholarship recipients to take time to reflect on the importance of their scholarships and to say “thank you” to those responsible through hand-written notes. These personal thank-you notes give the students the opportunities to share a little about themselves with their donors to create a genuine connection.
“We want to give students the chance to connect with the donors directly,” says Kelly Anderson, director of annual giving. “They’re the ones who are receiving this. They’re the ones who are impacted. It’s one thing for me to say ‘thank you’ for a gift on behalf of the University, but it’s another thing for a donor to know that their contribution is appreciated by the person whom it’s helping.”
For the past six years, the thank-you notes have been followed up with a dinner for donors and the students they support. The dinner is a chance for students and donors to meet face to face and learn more about one another.
“The best thing about ONU is the relationships that students make here,” says Anderson. “The scholarship dinner helps them make a few more.”