Largest scholarship gift to Foundation to benefit West Plains students

Uploaded by MissouriStateWP on 06.03.2012

Drew Bennett: And I’ll turn it over to Elizabeth Grisham
>> Elizabeth Grisham: Welcome, welcome to a historic day at Missouri State University-West
Plains. We are pleased to be joined by the faculty, staff and students, administrative
council, Brent Dunn, vice president of advancement and executive director of the Missouri State
University Foundation in Springfield, Wendy Ferguson, where’s Wendy?, there she is,
director of planned and corporate giving at Missouri State University Foundation, members
of our own development board on the West Plains campus, chancellors advisory board, the executive
board of the Grizzly Booster Club, former Chancellor, Dr. Marvin Looney is with us,
and several special guests that I'd like to introduce now.
>> First I’d like to introduce you to Bob and Eva Thompson of West Plains. We’re so
glad to have you here today. I’d like to introduce you to Evelyn Vetter. Evelyn used
to be the former librarian at the Garnett Library here on this campus. Finally I’d
like to introduce you to Bill Perkins, of Koshkonong. Bill is an attorney in Thayer
Missouri. >> Why these people are special will become
evident, as I tell you the story. It’s a good story, and it’s one worth repeating.
We are here today to honor and celebrate Lorene Thompson Brooks, a native of Koshkonong, Missouri
and younger sister to Bob Thompson of West Plains. Mrs. Brooks became acquainted with
Missouri State University- West Plains many years ago when her brother Bob introduced
her to then librarian of the Garnett library Evelyn Vetter.
>> Mrs. Brooks’ only child and daughter Diedre Perkins had recently passed away and
at the suggestion of her first husband’s nephew Bill Perkins, Mrs. Brooks donated Diedre’s
extensive book collection to the Garnett library. Mrs Vetter and Mrs Brooks maintained a correspondence
and developed a relationship that resulted in Mrs. Brooks giving two more monetary gifts
to the Garnett Library. Several years later, during a visit to West
Plains from her home in Austin, Texas, Mrs. Brooks and her brother Bob called Bob’s
golfing friend, Dean of Student Services Herb Lunday, met him on campus, took a tour and
further solidified Mrs. Brooks relationship with our campus. Even before her death in
December 2010, Mrs Brooks made a third and final gift to the library she loved so well.
Since her death, Bob Thompson and I have served as co executors of her will and have been
working closely with her attorney Fleur Christensen of Austin, Texas. Bob, it's been a pleasure.
>> Bob Thompson: Same here. >> Elizabeth Grisham: And I thank you for
allowing me the honor and the privilege of sharing in this significant experience.
>> Now you know the story. With that preface, please allow me to introduce our Chancellor,
Drew Bennett, who will make this historical announcement.
>> Drew Bennett: Today we are announcing that Mrs. Lorene Brooks has left her entire estate
of $4 million dollars to Missouri State University-West Plains to fund need-based scholarships. I
ask Bob and Elizabeth would you please come forward for the unveiling of this.
>> Bob Thompson: Is the money there? As you can see she’s the good-looking one.
>> Drew Bennett: This is the single largest gift to Missouri State University-West Plains
and the single largest scholarship gift ever given to the Missouri State University System.
Mrs. Brooks has left a lasting legacy with this magnificent estate gift. She was passionate
about helping students with financial need achieve a college education. And this historical
gift will do just that by allowing us to fully endow our Corps of Opportunity program, which
will double the number of students benefiting from this program. This gift also will fully
cover the cost of two Grizzly Athletics scholarships, which is very fitting because Mrs. Brooks
was a real fan of collegiate athletics. A gift of this magnitude is both humbling and
inspiring. It’s important to highlight that Mrs. Brooks believed Missouri State University-West
Plains worthy of such a gift. The things we do every day to help students succeed are
not only recognized by organizations like the Aspen Institute, which selected our campus
as one of those in the top ten percent of all two-year schools, but our efforts are
also realized by citizens who want to improve life in the Ozarks.”
With her vision and generosity, Mrs. Brooks has left a legacy that will change lives in
our rural region. Students who could never have pursued higher education opportunities
will be given the chance to go to school. It's inspiring that a woman who grew up in
nearby Koshkonong yet spent most of her adult life in Austin Texas would remember that many
of our students here need an extra boost. She has invested in her roots and has truly
left a gift that keeps on giving and her spirit lives on and we thank her and her family.
And I’d now like to turn the podium over to Mr. Brent Dunn to speak on behalf of Missouri
State University Foundation. >> Brent Dunn: On behalf of our Board of Trustees
of the Missouri State Foundation and the Missouri State System and our Interim President Clif
Smart this is a very, very special day, one that we’ll remember. But we’re really
not here celebrating that West Plains has received the largest gift ever, or we’re
not really celebrating that this is the single largest scholarship gift to the Missouri State
University in their history. But we’re celebrating really the impact
that this gift will have. Need-based scholarships are so crucial and especially during this
time. We all know about the state’s budget, not the best in the nation. We’re struggling
from state appropriations, and not only here, but about every state in the country. And
the cost of higher education continues to go up, but we need to provide that access
to students. So this comes at a very good time to help students. Need-based scholarships
are key. You know I am graduate of Missouri State,
but I understand because I was a need-based student and received scholarships, and that
is key. This gift will determine whether a student goes to college or not. While Lorene
Brooks is no longer with us, she will live forever here in the students of West Plains.
You know, what a noble thing to do. To make a difference in something even after you’re
gone and her forethought in doing this is really to be commended.
In West Plains, Missouri, United States, the world, we all need education, and Mrs. Brooks
is making a difference in the lives of students for some time to come now. And West Plains
is a better campus because of her. You know this is a significant gift, and as we’ve
had significant gifts before, this one I think I’ll always remember forever. When you announce
the gift and to look into your faces because it is a special moment that this has occurred
and that just think of the countless lives that will be affected from this day, from
here to come forward. So on behalf again of the foundation, this
is a great day to celebrate. >> Elizabeth Grisham: This gift illustrates
that friend-raising often happens outside the confines of the development office. The
relationships that faculty and staff have with others in the community are instrumental
in building connections to Missouri State-West Plains. We are grateful to those university
employees who established a friendship with Mrs. Brooks and communicated the importance
of this campus in our rural region. We also want to extend a special thanks to Bob and
Eva Thompson, for helping bring this gift to fruition. It is indeed a momentous day
at Missouri State University-West Plains.” Now I’d like to ask for the following people
to please gather around the podium for a photograph? And after the photo, we encourage you all
to stay around and visit, but we will be setting up for our regular devolvement board luncheon
and meeting, so if you would kind of make room for our staff, we’d appreciate it.
But would Bob and Eva, and Dr. Bennett, and Brent please come up where we can have a picture.
We thank all of you for coming.