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White Coat Society Scholarship

By Tyler D'Angelo
On April 12, 2017

Concord University introduces the new scholarship funds for science majors. 
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It is no question that Concord University students work to their fullest potential. “Come to learn, go to serve” is the motto at the Campus Beautiful and students take that to heart. Sometimes, it is a tough, financial road for students pursuing their degree. This can take a toll on Concord’s students, causing some to drop out or causing a decline in efficiency when it comes to coursework. The university has answered the call with a new scholarship fund that could assist students and hopefully deter them away from those situations. Alicia Besenyei, Vice President for Advancement, gives information about the new Concord University White Coat Society and what it can do for students. 

    The Concord University White Coat Society Inaugural Social was held at the President’s House on Thursday, March 30, to celebrate the upcoming scholarship fund by the Concord University Foundation. This new endowment could not have been a success if it weren’t for the founders which include Princeton natives Blue Ridge Internal Medicine physicians Todd A. Smith, DO, FACOI; Christopher D. Parrish, DO and Michael B. Remines, DO. Additionally, optometrist Brad Lane, OD; orthopedic surgeon Joseph P. Cincinnati, DO and MedExpress were all members of the founding class for this endowment. 

    A lot of schools have this type of program implemented and Concord just celebrated its establishment of its own White Coat Society. Besenyei says that the university saw this as a way to assist pre-professional chemistry and pre-professional biology students pursuing their degree by raising money. These students are the ones who will be future medical professionals like doctors, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists, etc. Besenyei stated, “We could start this fund and create a nice, new scholarship for students. It was about last January of 2016 that we started meeting with potential donors to see if we could get the funds started with some seed money to get it off to a good start.” Slowly but surely, she says, the university established its founders in which they were able to collect $50,000. 

    Besenyei says that Advancement is always busy looking for new ideas to raise money. Her job is to meet with alums and while she’s out doing that, she comes across medical professionals with a lot of them being Concord University alums. She says, “Maybe if we can get [the founders] together, and these are folks who probably appreciate a scholarship, knowing how much money they’ve spent for their education. We brought this group together and decided this might be a different way for Concord to raise some money.” However, Besenyei emphasized she knows how demanding those careers are and how fortunate the university is to have these founders. She said the founders were looking for a way to help students, and instead of putting their money into four small funds held in the foundation, they put all the money together to make a much larger one. The founders and donors are out recruiting their friends and colleagues to contribute as well. Besenyei adds, “We’re helping students. We’re helping, primarily, people from Southern West Virginia as that’s the bulk of our student population. The people contributing to this fund have been in the situation that these students are in where they could use a little financial help to get through.”

    Not only do the founders play a significant part, Besenyei also emphasized the importance of the Board of Directors. “We have a fantastic foundation and Board of Directors. These are women and men who watch our endowment. We have an investment policy and an investment committee that work together to make sure the money continues to grow,” she says. She confirmed the scholarship will be around for a long time since Concord has such a financially responsible Board of Directors who maintain the care of the funds at the university. 

    Besenyei made it clear that she is in total appreciation of the donors, in particular, the founders for the new scholarship. She says, “They chose to give their hard-earned money to Concord to help our students. I’m incredibly grateful for the founders and I’m incredibly grateful to the folks who are already sending in their $1,000 donations to grow this fund.” The goal of this new scholarship is to encourage other alums who have careers in the medical field to join with a $1,000 gift. Besenyei remains hopeful that the scholarship will allow the university to give multiple or full scholarships to students. The first awarded scholarship will be given in the upcoming fall semester. 

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