Saved by Scholarships: Elyssa Mann ’14 on Meeting Her Scholarship Donors

Each year, Westminster students find generous support from alumni to help them pursue their college education. At the College’s annual President’s Dinner to thank donors, students have the chance to meet and enjoy dinner with their benefactors. Read on for one student’s story: Westminster College senior Elyssa Mann ’14, pictured above with her scholarship donor Lloyd Taylor, blogs about her experience at the President’s Dinner.

I had barely checked in when the Taylors found me. Before I arrived at the President’s Dinner, I was anxious, but also excited. I wanted to meet the people who had given me my scholarship—but what was I going to say to them? How could I tell them exactly how important it was for me to meet them, to thank them for effectively giving me my senior year of college? As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry.

Within minutes, we were chatting about what I planned to do after I graduated, and how there was a possibility of a great opportunity up in Des Moines, where they live. We talked briefly about my family’s plans for rebuilding our home, but mostly, we talked comfortably about their lives and mine. During dinner, I learned about their home, what they did for a living; and in turn, they learned more about my life on campus and my childhood.

Lloyd ’63 and Jan Taylor were inducted into the 1851 Cornerstone Society for giving to Westminster during the presentation portion of the Dinner. Beforehand, I was asked to provide a quote, to demonstrate exactly what their gift meant to me:

Without the Taylor Scholarship, I don’t know if I would be here today. When my home was destroyed in the May 20 tornado in Moore I didn’t know how I was going to finish paying for my final year of college. When I returned to Fulton, however, I discovered that due to my situation, grades, and campus involvement, I had been awarded this scholarship.

Thanks to the Taylors, I’m able to finish my time at Westminster, and for that I am eternally grateful. For me, this scholarship means that I don’t have to worry about the cost of my education–I can focus on my family and putting our lives back together.

By the time the night was over, I didn’t want to say goodbye. I had just met these two amazing people—how could I let them go? As I hugged them both goodbye, I realized how incredibly lucky I was to have the Taylors in my life now—and now they were going back home. But I suppose that’s the great thing about meeting them through Westminster. They might be back for Alumni Weekend or graduation. Or the next time I visit my grandmother in Iowa, I may just have the time to swing by Des Moines to see them.

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