Students say ‘thank you’ to CSU donors
Giving makes a powerful statement.
The refrain was simple, honest and powerful: “I couldn’t afford an education without your support,” said one Charleston Southern student. Then another … and another … and, well, you get the idea.
On Thursday, Charleston Southern University hosted its annual Student Scholarship Luncheon to say thank you for supporting higher education.
“This event is truly the highlight of our year and represents what we are all about, matching the passion of our donors with our students that have a dream to earn a degree and make an impact for Christ on the world through their chosen profession,” said David Baggs, CSU vice president for advancement, in his introduction message.
When she was 18 years old, Vanessa Stringer lost her father to cancer. Two years later her mother was killed in a car accident. “You have had such an impact on my life by providing this scholarship,” Stringer told the group of donors. “Sometimes showing the love of Christ shows so much more when done through selfless acts of kindness. I look forward to giving back to CSU someday so I can have the same impact on someone else’s life and help others get a Christian education.”
Bill Goodman ripped up his written notes and said, “After hearing these words, I am really touched,” he said. “That’s the reason I give to CSU. That’s the reason I support the Board of Visitors.”
Charleston Southern Board of Visitors member, Mark Smith, grew up in a small town (Bamberg, S.C.) in a single-parent home. He saw himself in many of the students. “We experienced hunger issues,” said Smith. “We wondered where the next rent check was coming from. For everyone who shares that background, it says in Luke, ‘For everyone to whom much is given, much will be expected.’ We don’t make a life out of what we get, but what we give. It’s easy as a small business owner to write this check every year to support the mission and the vision of CSU.”
Jerry Owens ’03, a Board of Visitors member, said, “This is the institution that set the foundation for my future success.” Owens and his wife, Crystal, operate an All State insurance agency in Columbia.
“South Carolina Federal Credit Union has made a significant commitment to financial education,” said Beth Jaskiewicz, who represented SCFCU at Thursday’s luncheon. “The Board of Visitors program is a perfect fit for us.”
Jaskiewicz, who attended Charleston Southern for one year when it was the Baptist College, said she didn’t receive scholarship support when she was in college but understands the need.
“I couldn’t make it without scholarship support,” said Amy Funderburk, a junior elementary education major. Funderburk is from a single-parent home, so college tuition is a serious financial challenge.
James Czwazka sat across from Funderburk at a table marked by the colors and scent of spring: yellow and white Gerber daises, snap dragons, chrysanthemums and baby’s breath filled mason jars full of water and lemon slices. Ice cold glasses of sweet tea dripped in sweat as the North Charleston native spoke.
“This is very humbling,” said Czwazka, a junior criminal justice major. “It’s not just about the money but the fact that someone invested time and faith in my education. That means a lot.”
Giving is humble.
Giving is selfless.
Giving sends a message of encouragement.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The University’s vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.