The Enduring Value of Scholarships

By Dr. Robert Allen King

Scholarships can make a major difference in a student’s life and we are thankful to be able to help. Since I am a numbers person, here are some numbers to illustrate. For the 2020-2021 academic year, over $1.5 million in aid will be awarded to over 800 College of Business students. To give a frame of reference, for the 2010-2011 academic year, those numbers were over $600,000 and over 400 students. Adding one more layer of perspective, enrollment in 2010 Fall was 1,198 compared to 2,917 in Fall 2020.

There were some important milestones that have led to increases in both enrollment and in scholarships over this period of time. In 2012 we earned AACSB accreditation, closely followed by ABET accreditation in 2013 making us one of only a handful of programs to hold both accreditations. 2013 was also the first year we were ranked in US News and World Reports for our Online MBA program (an accomplishment we have maintained since that time). In 2015 we added The Financial Engineer Times ranking for the MSFE program and in 2019 we earned a spot in the top 25 from Princeton Review. Our most recent milestone is becoming the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business in 2018. All of these milestones were led to an increase in recognition as well as enrollment and scholarships.

While data is important, the most important component in scholarships is the how they affect students. We reached out to a couple students who are able to illustrate how scholarships have affected them and how their time at WT was changed by scholarships.

Debra Beck is a current Finance undergrad who will graduate in 2021. For the 2020 academic year, she was awarded the Vincent M. Eggers scholarship. Notably, in his senior year, Mr. Eggers received the J. Herschel Coffee scholarship, which instilled in him the desire to extend the same opportunity to a deserving scholarship, which prompted the creation of the scholarship in his name. In her letter thanking Mr. Eggers, Debra explained just how important the scholarship was to her given her background as a returning student that wanted to be a good academic role model for her three children. She grew up in Perryton Texas where she began working at Ochiltree Hospital at the age of 16. She has recently celebrated her 29th year at the company and hopes to become the Chief Financial Officer with the attainment of her degree. The scholarship became incredibly important during the pandemic because the farming community was hit very hard due to the decreasing commodity prices. Though she was deemed an essential worker and could continue earning money for her family, the scholarship allowed her peace of mind to continue both school and work.

Similar to Mr. Eggers, Kolten Wilder was a student that benefited from and has created a scholarship for future students in the College. Kolten has a double major in accounting and finance as well as an MBA from WT. After receiving mentorship from Drs. Anne Macy and Neil Terry during his programs, Kolten gave back to the College through a scholarship in their honor, The Terry Family Leadership Scholarship. “I established the Terry Family Leadership scholarship in 2017 to recognize the efforts of Dr. Neil Terry and Dr. Anne Macy, while recognizing one student each year, who exemplifies Leadership qualities majoring in either Economics or Finance. David Wilder, my grandfather, instilled in me at a young age the quality of generosity and to not only give of ones’ time but of ones’ monetary resources.”

To add one more layer of how scholarships have a multiplier effect, this year’s recipient of the Terry Family Leadership Scholarship was the student that created the Thank You video for Dr. Terry in this newsletter. When Kolten was told about the video thanking Dr. Terry, he wanted to note that “Dr. Terry, as the College of Business Dean, not only positively altered the trajectory of College of Business, but the entire University.”

We could go on about how continuously Buffs help Buffs, but we will save those for more deep dives on individual scholarships. So be on the lookout for those. The main thing to note is that scholarships are an important component of education and, by giving back, it often has a way to create more opportunities in the future for others. A rising tide will continue to raise all ships.

For a full list of scholarships across the University:

For students: Apply for scholarships at the following link. The due date is February 1st.

For more information about scholarships in the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, please reach out to Dr. Robert Allen King