Bon appétit for scholarships

Monday, October 11, 2004

Apricot bars, blueberry cheesecake, and brownies with mint frosting sweetened an already pleasurable event at the College of Education’s annual spring “Dessert Fest.”

The event is a treat for everyone who attends: scholarship recipients, donors who make the scholarships possible, students’ families, and faculty members who help enhance the learning opportunities the scholarship provides.

The popular Dessert Fest is a reminder to all participants that a single scholarship has a positive impact on several individuals. It’s not the desserts that leave a lasting impression, however. The treat that makes the scholarship awards ceremony last long into the evening, well after the desserts are gone, is the opportunity it gives winners and their benefactors to meet one another.

“Without an event like this, many scholarship winners never have a chance to put a face with the benefactor’s name on their award certificates,” said COE Dean Joane McKay, who initiated the events. Students are also encouraged to invite their families, and each invites a favorite professor to share the evening.

James and Muriel Grunerud, St. Cloud, may have a weakness for sugar: they’ve attended every Dessert Fest since the tradition began five years ago. “We’re committed to education,” is the simple, straightforward reason the couple gives for their willingness to donate. Over two decades, they have endowed three scholarships for education students, including one for graduate students in education administration. That’s the field in which Grunerud taught until his retirement in 1983.

Going to college “is a pretty expensive business, you know,” said Mabel Ingwell when she was asked about her scholarship donation. The recipient of the scholarship wanted to go on to college, “but didn’t have the means all by herself.”

Ingwell’s children, both SCSU alumni, encouraged her to set up the scholarship in the name of her late husband Paul. “Both of them wanted me to do something like this because they knew their dad would have wanted to continue giving” as he had during the years he taught at SCSU. It was the right decision, the benefactor said: “It was nice to help someone who needed it.”

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