Without scholarships, sophomore Tera Peña would not be at Lenoir-Rhyne University. An international business and accounting major, Peña says the scholarships she has received are critical for pursuing her education.
"Without the scholarship from Lenoir-Rhyne, I would not have been able to attend another year," Peña said. "Because I've lost both parents, I am financially dependent on myself and don't have anyone else to lean on. The scholarships I received from Lenoir-Rhyne have allowed me to stress less about finances and focus more on my studies."
Peña is one of more than 330 students at LR receiving scholarships this year. Those students and the donors who make those scholarships possible were honored Feb. 21 at the annual Scholars Luncheon.
During the event, students thanked their donors and shared stories about how a scholarship has made a difference in their lives.
"The scholarship luncheon is an opportunity for the students and donors to get to know one another," said Cat Serrin Niekro, vice president for institutional advancement. "Our students get to meet the people who made their scholarship possible and to thank them, and donors hear first-hand how life-changing these scholarships are. It's an incredibly emotional experience."
One of the donors in attendance was the Rev. Dr. Richard (Dick) Campbell '67, who was also guest speaker. Campbell and his wife, Becky '67, firmly believe that LR played a major role in forming them into the people they are today. After Becky's parents died, her sister and brother-in-law, Elizabeth '55 and Bob Carswell '55, along with Dick and Becky, established the Cromer Scholarship.
"You are at the heart of Lenoir-Rhyne's reason for being," Campbell told the students. "As you work and grow into your future, you keep LR's heart beating. As donors, it is our joy to support you and to support this great University, for both you and LR are at the heart of the future."
Tanner Lloyd, first-year student in accounting and finance, said a scholarship has made it possible for him to obtain an education.
"My scholarship has impacted my experience by keeping me more involved, providing me with a group of friends that are all like family, and will open up doors in my future," Lloyd said.
A third-generation legacy student, Nolan Garrett is a sophomore in computer science and information technology. He has been visiting LR for sporting and alumni events since childhood.
"The scholarship definitely influenced my decision to come to LR – it was a big thing for me," Garrett said. "The smaller class sizes and the fact that it's a Lutheran school were important factors. My mom and grandparents are alumni, which also played a part in my decision."
Peña said that when she graduates from LR, it will give her a sense of peace knowing her parents would be proud. "If it weren't for our donors, I wouldn't be here," she said. "A scholarship allows my parents' dreams to come true, as well as mine."