Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon Celebrates Commitment to Education

Anticipation built as the Hahn University Center Forum rooms filled up with students, staff, administrators, and donors. Large bouquets of spring flowers decorated the tables and Frank Sinatra's music played in the background. This was the scene as the 31st annual University of San Diego Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon began. As guests found their seats, connections were made and the hum of conversations and laughter filled the room.

Scholarship Luncheon 2018

This annual spring event, held in 2018 on March 15, brought together more than 380 guests in celebration of the commitment to a USD education. This year’s spotlight focused on the College of Arts and Sciences, with Dean Noelle Norton, PhD, providing an introduction to the afternoon.

“We support [students] who, regardless of their major, are introduced to the arts and to the humanities,” said Norton. “Because of this, we know we are training young adults to be creative, innovative, and imaginative thinkers, regardless of their occupation.”

Norton, in her time at USD, has seen the establishment of USD's Humanities Center, the new Architecture Pavilion, and the creation of 15 new scholarship funds supporting undergraduate students pursuing a degree in the arts and humanities. These are all thanks to the support of donors, who have actively aided in the USD student experience.

The Danvera Scholarship

Patrick Morrin ’83, a past scholarship recipient himself, remembers his own scholarship luncheon. “It mattered to me,” said the creator of the Danvera Scholarship. “A donor who I didn’t know believed in me.”

Seventeen years later, this English alumnus, who pursued a career in Silicon Valley, set up a family foundation to provide long-term support to people and a variety of causes.

“In the fifteen years of supporting students, these students have gone on to become doctors, nurses, lawyers, and teachers, [all] very successful professionals. There’s never been a great university that wasn’t a great liberal arts university. I’m very happy to support this university and our students in the continuation of its vision to be the next great university,” said Morrin. “My wish is these students in attendance will go on to become the donors of the future.”

The Engstrand History Scholarship

After 50 years in the Department of History, Dr. Iris Engstrand’s 2017 retirement prompted family members, friends and colleagues to set up the Engstrand History Scholarship, which is awarded to an undergraduate student studying history.

“I am grateful for all those friends, faculty, colleagues, and former students whose contributions have made this award possible,” said Engstrand. “The knowledge of history in today’s world provides a solid foundation for making decisions on a local, state, national, or worldwide basis. The knowledge of history prepares a person. It’s important to understand what has gone before to figure out a sensible direction for the future.”

A Scholarship’s Impact

Each year the Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon highlights students who've been impacted by a donor’s generosity. This year’s student speakers were English major James Douglas and music major Alexandra Annen. As they spoke to the gathering, both stressed that the scholarships made a difference in their educational pursuits, enabling them to live out their dreams and find the light within themselves to pursue their paths.

As the luncheon closed, USD President James Harris, DEd, finished by thanking donors who have continued to impact student lives.

“Think about how your one scholarship gift to the university, to the student who sits before you, the student you had an impact on directly, what their lives are going to mean to this world because of the education they receive here at this great institution and what impact that is going to have for generations to come,” said Harris. “Your help makes that happen. We will be better because of your continued involvement and from the bottom of my heart and from all of the students in this room, I thank you for your support.”

— Allyson Meyer ‘16

Photography by Cory Immele