Landmark Scholarship Makes AQ History
"You can make a difference" is more than a slogan to Aquinas College’s Saints for Life student club. The members remain committed to uphold the dignity and sanctity of life. They participate in marches for life locally and in Washington D.C., contribute to baby pantries, and offer educational opportunities surrounding the sanctity of life. Yet, they began to question what assistance is available to the young single mother and/or single father who recognizing the countless challenges of raising a child alone yet choose to welcome and to parent this new life.
The leadership of Saints for Life discovered that often young, single parents postpone obtaining a college education or permanently negate the possibility of ever obtaining a college degree. The group began to discuss the possibility of establishing a scholarship for these students. Initially, members thought they might raise a few hundred dollars for an annual scholarship. It was decided they would share their vision with College administration.
“I talked with Cecilia Cunningham and she helped paint a picture of something more permanent, an endowed scholarship. It seemed like a bold step yet the right thing to do,” said former student president Paul Fahey.
The student’s voted unanimously to move forward on raising $30,000 to establish an endowed scholarship. They wrote and sent a letter to prospective donors and prayed. They weren’t really sure where the money would come from, yet they stepped out trusting it would come. Their prayers were answered when alumni David V. ’65 and Nancy A. Huhn ’64 stepped forwarded with an amazing gift.
“It really is a beautiful story of passion meeting vision, meeting need,” Cecilia Cunningham, director of Major Gifts at Aquinas College shared. “The impact will be experienced for generations to come, what a great legacy to leave the college.”
“Mr. Huhn and I met for coffee to discuss the scholarship and during our discussion he explained that ‘Really, sanctity of life is a core moral principle, if you don’t have life and the protection of life, all other issues cease to exist,’” Ms. Cunningham recalled. “I merely shared the dream of the students and then stepped out of the way to watch the dream become reality.”
Mr. and Mrs. David V. Huhn generously pledged to fully fund the new scholarship and to go beyond the $30,000 by including an estate planning piece which will help the fund reach $100,000. Mr. Huhn applauded the vision of the students at the presidential signing ceremony which made the Saints for Life scholarship official. Several Aquinas student leaders and faculty have joined the Huhn’s by also contributing to the Saints for Life Scholarship and they plan to continue this annually in the hopes of growing the fund substantially.
The Saints for Life scholarship is based on financial need of pregnant and/or parenting traditional age students with custody of their child. This award is available to men and women who are enrolled at least part time at Aquinas College. This scholarship is not automatically renewable, however previous recipients may reapply for up to five years. The student(s) must maintain an acceptable GPA and be in good standing with the College. The decision for awarding the scholarship is determined by the Financial Aid office with the input, when needed, of the Campus Ministry Office, or Dean of Students Office. A confidential application may be obtained from Career and Counseling Services, Campus Ministry or Health & Wellness Services. If there is no one who meets the first criteria of pregnant and/or parenting, then priority will be given the student(s) who has demonstrated on-going leadership within Campus Ministry and/or is majoring in Catholic studies/theology and maintains an active Catholic faith within a local parish.
This scholarship is part of the 125th Anniversary Family Scholarship Campaign which has raised over one million dollars in named endowed scholarships.
The Director of Campus Ministry, Mary Clark-Kaiser, present to witness this historic occasion said, “We need to spread the news far and wide to other faith based colleges. The students who inspired this here could inspire other student organizations around the country.” Mr. Huhn readily agreed. “This is our hope that others join us in this endeavor. We know there are many who believe as strongly as Nancy Huhn and I do in the sanctity of life. I believe this is just the beginning!”
>Learn more about the Family Scholarship Endowment Program