Celebration of Scholarship - Athletics

Inaugural event honors those who give back to UD's student-athletes

University of Delaware student-athletes, coaches, staff members and donors gathered Wednesday, April 4, at the new Bob Carpenter Center addition for the inaugural Celebration of Scholarship – Athletics reception. It was an evening designed to show appreciation to the generous individuals who give back through their funding of undergraduate athletic scholarships.

The celebration was hosted by UD President Patrick T. Harker, who said he sees the event as a way of connecting student-athletes and their benefactors and perpetuating an ethic of patronage within UD Athletics. Currently, nearly 80 athletic scholarships at UD are sponsored by private donors.

The University has held similar Celebration of Scholarship events in past years; however, Wednesday’s reception was the first time an event had been hosted specifically to honor scholarship donors to athletics.

“We’re just thrilled to meet those who contribute so much to our student-athletes here at Delaware,” said Bernard Muir, director of athletics and recreation services. “This event was a wonderful opportunity for our athletes to thank their donors personally for their generosity.”

In addition to Harker and Muir, there were three other speakers during the evening’s festivities.  

Athletic donors were represented by speaker and alumnus Tom Van Grofski, who, along with his wife, established the Thomas W. and Jacqueline Harding Van Grofski Scholarship.  A true athlete during his time at UD, Van Grofski served as both the captain of the Blue Hens baseball team and quarterback of the football team. 

Junior marketing major, volleyball player and Pinto Family Scholarship recipient, Alissa Alker, spoke on behalf of female student-athletes and football player Stephen Clark, wildlife conservation major and the recipient of the Bailey Lude Scholarship, spoke on behalf of male student-athletes.

While relaying his story to the crowd, Clark reflected, “I am so grateful for the opportunity that this scholarship has given me.  I hope that, in the future, I will be able to use my education to give back to a deserving student in the same way that my donors have been able to assist me.”

Van Grofski, who earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UD, echoed Clark’s sentiments.  He urged the student-athletes of today to enjoy their college experience, but to remember to heed the call when the time comes to give back to future generations of Blue Hens.

Article by Shannon Pote, 4-11-12


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