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Annual celebration recognizes donors who support student scholarships
Bangalore T. Lakshman came to America in 1968, earned his master’s degree from the University of Delaware three years later, and spent 20-plus years working as a chief engineer for a local water utility company.
“I come from a middle-income family,” he said. “I’m comfortable, but I wanted to do something good. I wanted to pay it back.”
And so he established a scholarship to support undergraduate engineering education at his alma mater in 1992.
“Wow,” Chris Youngquist exclaimed. “That was before I was born.”
Youngquist, a junior majoring in economics and environmental engineering, is one of four current recipients of the Bangalore T. Lakshman Scholarship, awarded to College of Engineering students on an annual basis.
On May 15, Youngquist had the opportunity to meet his benefactor at the University’s Celebration of Scholarship reception, an annual event that recognizes and celebrates undergraduate scholarship support and the forethought and generosity of those who make that support possible.
“This evening isn’t just about gratitude,” said UD President Patrick Harker, addressing the hundreds of students and donors in attendance at Clayton Hall. “It’s about inviting you more deeply into this community of talent that you’re helping create, showing you the incredible legacy you’re leaving, and imbuing in students the same ethos of giving that has worked its magic in their own lives.”
Throughout the evening, scholarship recipients and supporters met and mingled with one another, sharing news of the previous year and their plans for the future.
“This scholarship has been vital to my success here,” said senior Kelsey Schwenk, a wildlife conservation and agriculture and natural resources double major who has studied in Tanzania, Cambodia and Vietnam. “These experiences have totally changed my perspective, and they would not have been possible without my [Donald F. Crossan Agricultural Alumni] scholarship.”
Gratitude was the prominent sentiment of the night, echoed most poignantly and memorably during the evening’s main performance.
As the crowd directed its attention to the center of the room, Vocal Point, the UD a cappella group that last month won third place in an international competition, sang a stirring rendition of Kind and Generous by Natalie Merchant.
As they harmonized, scholarship recipients Angela Carcione, Eddie Sangern and Jenna Knaster each shared messages of appreciation by describing the positive difference their scholarship has made in their lives.
The event also included the 2014 Presidential Award for Philanthropic Commitment, which recognizes a donor or family whose scholarship support has had a significant impact on the University and its undergraduates. This year’s recipients were Pierre (Pete) du Pont Hayward and Martina (Tina) Combs Hayward, a 1974 alumna.
Pete Hayward was vice president and university secretary from 1993-2012, and Tina and their two sons are UD alumni. The Haywards have supported more than 50 areas across the University, including scholarships, professorships, academic departments and campus beautification projects.
They are also significant donors to the Rosa H. McDonald Nursing Scholarship and the William Winder Laird and Mary du Pont Laird Nursing Scholarship, which were established in the names of Pete Hayward’s mother and grandparents. The Haywards support the two funds to honor the “wonderful nursing care” received by Pete Hayward’s mother and stepfather, who lived to the ages of 95 and 100, respectively.
“Almost all of those nurses were UD graduates,” said Pete Hayward, the self-described “only non-[UD] graduate” of the family. (Pete Hayward did, however, take one course with the late Prof. Jim Soles that “ultimately resulted in my working here for 20 years.”)
“I enjoyed working on this campus,” he said, adding, “Tina and I are humbled to be honored by the University that we love and which has played such an important role in our lives.”