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Annual Scholarship Dinner Celebrates Record-Setting Year

Posted Apr. 27, 2014

It was an evening for the record books.Kent State alumnus David A. Meeker and one of two Meeker Scholarship winners, Endya Watson, a PR major

JMC's annual Scholarship and Award Dinner on Thursday evening set two important new records:  More than $65,000 in scholarships and financial awards, the highest total ever, were given to 54 undergraduate and graduate students, also the School's highest total ever.

The ceremony enabled JMC scholarship recipients to spend the evening with the generous donors who made their scholarships possible. JMC donors reflect the diversity of the JMC family itself:  alumni, faculty, parents, siblings and friends of former students, JMC Professional Advisory Board (PAB) members, and media and communication industry leaders.

"Our donors believe in supporting and sustaining high-potential, hard-working students. Our donors understand that a college education can transform lives, provide hope and opportunity, and build better citizens," JMC Director Thor Wasbotten told the donors, students and guests who celebrated in the Kent Student Center Ballroom Balcony.Leah Klafczynski and donors Raymond Jaminet (left), and Jennifer and Eric Nielsen

Wasbotten also announced that this year, JMC's endowment reached an all-time high of $4.6 million – an increase of $1.2 million in a single academic year. The amount includes more than $1.8 million in endowed scholarships. "Let me put these figures into perspective: through the extraordinary generosity of our donors, we achieved a 35-percent increase in the JMC endowment and a 118-percent increase in endowed scholarship funds," he said.

Donor support also enabled the School to launch a new financial award program, the Promising Scholar Awards, which will benefit the 10 strongest freshmen entering JMC in fall 2014. The new awards are renewable for up to four years if the students remain in good academic standing at JMC.

"The Promising Scholar Awards allow us to recruit some of the strongest high school students in the nation – students who have demonstrated not only academic achievement but also leadership skill and community service," Wasbotten said.

During the evening, Wasbotten shared highlights of JMC's academic year, including JMC's strong performance in prestigious intercollegiate journalism competitions and national internships and fellowships.

'Pay it Forward'Cindy Deng and Cindy Schulz, a JMC alumna, JMC Professional Advisory Board chair and a scholarship donor

The evening included a moving speech by Cindy Schulz, a magna-cum laude graduate of JMC, chairman of the School's Professional Advisory Board and scholarship donor.  Schulz offered students three pieces of advice:  "Know that you are smart, be proud of who you are and where you came from and pay it forward." She spoke of growing up in the projects on the west side of Cleveland's and attending Kent State with the help of scholarships and financial aid. "As a scholarship recipient myself, I can tell you it is just as good to be a benefactor as it is to be a recipient," Schulz said, encouraging students to "make a pledge today to give back other students when you are can."

Wasbotten urged students to follow Schulz's example:  "When each of you is in a position to do so, reach back and help lift up another JMC student."

He closed the evening by quoting Lady Gaga:  "If you have revolutionary potential, you must make the world a better place."

"The time to begin fulfilling your revolutionary potential is now, and the place to begin is here, at JMC," Wasbotten said.


Rotator Caption:  Robert Sorino Sr. shares a photo of his son, Robert Jr., with visual journalism major Rachael LeGoubin, who received the scholarship named in Robert's honor. Robert was a JMC alumnus and photography major. (Photo by Graham Smith.)

Photo 1:  Kent State alumnus David A. Meeker and one of two Meeker Scholarship winners, Endya Watson, a PR major. (Photo by David Foster)

Photo 2:  Leah Klafczynski (second from left) and donors Raymond Jaminet (left), and Jennifer and Eric Nielsen. Leah is the beneficiary of the Jaminet-Shutterbug Foundation scholarship, named in honor of the late Michael Jaminet, who attended Kent State in the 1980s and was an award-winning photographer. (Photo by David Foster)

Photo 3:  PRSSA President and PR major Cindy Deng (left) and Cindy Schulz, a JMC alumna,  JMC Professional Advisory Board chair and a scholarship donor. (Photo by David Foster)