|SGA-Sponsored Dinner Raises a Davidson Trust Scholarship for a Class of 2015 Student
February 22, 2011
Contact: Bill Giduz
|(l-r) J.D. Merrill '13 and Jordan Starck '12 spearheaded the SGA effort. (Photo by Jordan Luebkemann '14)
To hear audio of the speakers at this year's Dinner at Davidson, click here.
Thanks to the Student Government Association (SGA), a student will enroll at Davidson College next year with a new SGA Scholarship. The SGA raised the $20,000 needed to establish this "Davidson Trust" scholarship on Saturday, Feb. 19, at the organization's second annual "Dinner at Davidson."
The gala event-organized entirely by students through the SGA's External Affairs Committee-attracted more than 200 students, faculty, staff and community members, and raised $20,515. That, plus $3,500 raised at the inaugural Dinner at Davidson last year, will fund the SGA's first Davidson Trust scholarship for a member of the Class of 2015.
The Davidson Trust is an endowment that provides students with financial aid packages additional grant money so that they do not have to take out student loans to afford a Davidson education. In 2007 Davidson became the first liberal arts college in the country to launch such a program, which allows students to graduate without student loan debt.
The SGA organizing committee for the event, spearheaded by J.D. Merrill '13 and Jordan Starck '12, employed a variety of creative fundraising efforts. They sold "Davidson Trusted Us" wristbands, sold $15 tickets to the dinner, and staged a silent auction of artwork, excursions, golf outings, dinners, Charlotte Bobcats tickets, and autographed memorabilia.
The most valuable item was a homemade gumbo dinner donated by Bob and Sally Miller, which sold for $700. A golf outing for three to the Baltusrol Golf club in Springfield, N.J., sold for $675, and a dinner with the college's 2008 Elite Eight basketball team went for $600.
|Dinner at Davidson attendees shopping at the silent auction table.
The event featured a gourmet dinner prepared by the "P.S." student cooking club, and musical entertainment for dancing and dining by the Jazz Band and the student a cappella group Androgyny.
Speakers at the dinner included Davidson President John Kuykendall and Town of Davidson Mayor John Woods. Kuykendall said, "We are so proud of these students and all they have done. The success of this event is a testament to our wonderful students-and to the importance of The Davidson Trust in the life of this college."
The theme of this year's event was "Shaping Community Leaders," and several student speakers addressed the role of The Davidson Trust in enabling them to accept leadership and service roles in the community.
Kaneisha Gaston '13 told attendees, "While it is nice to praise The Davidson Trust for the opportunities it provides students, and for the diversity of perspectives and experiences it brings to campus, we must not stop there. The Davidson Trust means so much more than that."
She continued, "The importance of the Trust is not in the number of diverse students we bring to campus because of the promise of leaving debt-free. It is not the physical presence of the multicultural community that it creates. It is not in the number of donors or the amounts of their donations. The importance of the Trust is the opportunity it provides for students to leave Davidson with a heightened cultural sensitivity, with a deeper understanding of poly-culturalism and diversity, and with a new model for how a society can and should function when it embraces previously marginalized voices. These are lessons and an education that will affect millions."
James Tolleson '13, a student member of the FreeWord slam poetry club, recited an original poem titled "Slammin' for the Trust." He commented later, "When they asked me to do this poem, I could really only think of two words - opportunity & community - and that made me think of the Davidson Trust. It's a big first step towards a future that I want to live in."
His poem included these lines.
"Because these things that we do are not for charity,
and these things that we do are not always about me
it's opportunity for community, cause you can trust in us
it's opportunity for community, put your trust in us"
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.