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WSSU alumni continue to 'pay-it-forward'

By Maurika Smutherman
On December 4, 2012

Elementary education and nursing majors will be eligible for $35,000 in scholarships donated by Winston-Salem State's 1962 alumni.
Gregory Hairston, director of Alumni Relations, said the scholarships should be available in fall 2013.
The 1962 alumni celebrated their 50-year class reunion by donating the check to the University on Founder's Day, Oct. 19.
Donald Faison, former senior class officer for the class of 1962, presented the check to the University in a special presentation during the convocation.  
"The graduates from that class were either elementary education or nursing majors, so they wanted to fund students that had the same majors they had," Hairston said.  
Elementary Education and nursing degrees were the only ones offered at Winston-Salem Teachers College in 1962.
Hairston said each alum was asked to donate at least $1,000.
Although the alumni fell short of their $50,000 goal, Hairston said the class will continue  asking  classmates to designate their annual alumni donations directly to the fund.
This isn't the first time the University has received a donation during the 50-year reunion of an alumni class.
"We've had 50-year anniversary groups provide scholarships for several years," Hairston said.
He said the donation will be used to create an endowment  and the revenue from the fund will pay for the scholarships.
The class of 1960 made the University's largest donation with $82,000 in 2010.
 The 1960 alumni have raised that amount to $94,000 this year, and they are only $6,000 away from their new goal of $100,000.  
Hairston said other substantial donations have been made by the 1958 alumni, who donated $62,000 in 2008.
The 1961 alumni donated $50,000 in 2011.
Hairston said that Alumni Affairs has partnered with the Student Government Association to encourage altruism among enrolled students by organizing a class-giving competition.
"It has to start while students are enrolled; you can't just wait until someone graduates to start encouraging them to donate."  
David Butler, SGA president and senior management major from Charlotte, said the University is working on a campaign to increase scholarships for continuing students as well as freshmen.
Butler said the competition should create a "culture of giving" within the University.     
"Each class has a minimum goal of $1,200," Hairston said.
Donations made by the freshmen, sophomore and junior classes will fund scholarships for currently enrolled students next year, while donations made by the senior class will fund scholarships for incoming freshmen.  
"We want students to have a 'pay-it-forward' mentality," Hairston said.
He said the University will advance more as donations increase, which will add value to academic degrees.
Founded in 1892 on a $2,500 donation, the WSSU has increased its endowment to nearly $20 million in 2012.

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