Cody Follis ’13 is pursuing his dream of becoming a lawyer and politician, participating in forensics while studying political science. Merissa Burnett ’13 wants to go into law enforcement and works at Campus Safety. Alexandra Williams ’13 is furthering her passion for music by majoring in jazz studies and plans on graduate school to become a professor of music.
All three harbored doubts that they would be able to continue their education after attending two-year Lincoln College in Lincoln, IL. Today, they are thriving at North Central, the first recipients of the newly established Magnetrol Judy G. Stevenson Scholarships that are fully funding their final two years of education.
“If it weren’t for this amazing scholarship, I don’t know that I would be in school right now,” says Follis. “My parents are unable to provide help in paying for school, so I have relied on grants and scholarships. And I will be able to complete my degree without taking on a suffocating debt burden.”
Follis has embraced student life at North Central, getting involved in Student Governing Association as well as forensics. He was president of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa at Lincoln College and helped share information about the new scholarships. “I saw this as a great opportunity and decided to go for it,” he says.
The new scholarships were established by Trustee Jeffrey Swallow ’94, president and chief executive officer of Magnetrol, Inc., and a graduate of Lincoln College. “I’m also on the Board of Trustees at Lincoln and I saw this as an opportunity to give back to both the schools I love,” he explains. “My mother, Judy Stevenson, always taught us that if you’re in a position to give back to your community and to the things that bring you the most pleasure and to people in need, then ‘give back till it hurts.’ She couldn’t have been more right, or set a better example. All the pleasure is in the giving.”
The generosity of Swallow and others has helped the number of named scholarships grow to 200; the Office of Financial Aid awarded $670,000 from these scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. And in the past five years, the scholarship endowment increased from $16.1 million to $25.3 million.
But the numbers don’t reveal the personal stories of students who can now afford a North Central education. “I want to become a U.S. Marshal, or criminal profiler or a counselor for victims,” says Burnett. “If I did not get this scholarship I do not think I could afford to go to school. In the future I would like to do the same thing for other students who could not afford to pay for school, just like the Magnetrol scholarship has done for me.”
Adds Williams: “I love this school; I have made some amazing friends and I have learned so much in the time I’ve been here,” she says. “At Lincoln I struggled to make payments each month, and I was starting to get worried about my future. I cannot thank (Dr.) Swallow enough for this generous gift that I will cherish forever.”
North Central NOW Winter 2012