Scholarship luncheon unites students, benefactors

No matter the plans, goals or dreams of Lenoir-Rhyne students, their journey is often achieved with receipt of a scholarship.

The annual scholarship luncheon, held April 7 in Shuford Gymnasium, brings together students, donors, faculty and staff to honor the generosity of donors and celebrate scholarship recipients and their academic achievements at Lenoir-Rhyne.

A native of Mexico, senior elementary education student Geraldine Ledezma Garcia credits LR for helping her become the first member of her family to graduate college. In her final weeks at the institution, she waits to accept her first job as an educator — staying true to learning about herself, the world and how to provide an equitable education to her future students.A student sits at a table and speaks to another student standing while inside

“I want to sincerely thank you,” Ledezma said. “I would not be here if it weren’t for the financial support I received. I encourage you all to continue to invest in leaders like me, who I know will forge the path toward a new and equitable future. I encourage you all to continue to invest in a change that is bigger than us.”

Ledezma received the Oliver and Rachel Smith Scholarship. In addition, she is a Teaching Scholar and has served as founder and president of the Latin Hispanic Student Alliance and a resident assistant.

Donors’ generosity makes tangible difference in the lives of LR students

In his remarks at the luncheon, Dr. Fred Whitt, university president, thanked the donors for enabling the school to maintain its competitive edge.

“Our students remind me why we do what we do every day,” Whitt said. “We are working to enhance our students’ experience continually and further strengthen the LR family. I am proud of the commitment and dedication of our students, the steadfast generosity of our alumni and friends and the spirit of faith and inclusiveness that unites us all.”

Whitt noted that the generosity of donors has allowed the college to increase its support to students. For the 2021-22 academic year, there are more than 380 endowed scholarship funds for students on the Hickory campus and more than 510 endowed funds across the university designated for scholarships, professorships, programming and operations. He also noted the addition of 14 new scholarship funds.

With nearly 200 people attending, the hourlong program allowed students to express gratitude to their benefactors while allowing donors to meet the students benefiting from their generosity. Additionally, student speakers shared personal stories about how philanthropy has touched their lives with the program audience. 

Cardo Grant stands at a podium


Scholarships provide positive impact on student

Cardo Grant, a senior pre-medical science student with a minor in German, shared his story and discussed the impact scholarships have had on his education. A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Grant receives the Donald and Catherine Bumgarner Scholarship and Russell Brown Scholarship. He serves as a Bear of Distinction, vice president of the pre-health club and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity president. After graduating May 6, Grant is preparing for the MCAT exam and applying to medical school with plans to become a neurosurgeon.

Grant said his life might have been significantly different without a college scholarship.

Expressing his gratitude, Grant said, “Lenoir-Rhyne donors have made it possible for me to pursue my career and make a difference in people’s lives — and so ultimately, you make a difference in students’ lives. The donations made to the school allow students to explore and circumnavigate a route in bettering our lives and the people’s lives in our communities. My four years at LR have been an experience that I have come to enjoy and will forever dwell on, as this was a steppingstone for me to impact the world. Thank you again for investing in Lenoir-Rhyne students, one Bear at a time.”