Scholarship gift will create lasting impact

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

For years and years to come -- conceivably extending throughout this century and into the next -- the $3.5 million bequest from the estate of Jean (Sullivan) Rawson will benefit students attending the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

"We are excited," said the acting dean, Jerry Sundquist. "It's unbelievable to consider what this can do for us." Similar sentiments came from Kim Krull, an assistant professor and counselor at NCTA. "This is incredible," she said. "It's a really, really generous gift."

Sundquist and Krull are referring to the fact that the money Mrs. Rawson left will be put into an endowment, meaning that the principal will remain intact, with interest used for annual grants to students. The effect -- starting in the fall of 2006 -- will be annual scholarships to students at the two-year college totaling between $120,000 and $140,000 per year.

With tuition rates currently at $1,200 per semester (for a 15-credit hour load), that means the Rawson Scholarship Fund could provide full tuition for up to 50 students per year, and considerably more than that for partial tuition grants.

The gift shows how long-lasting early experiences can be. Born Feb. 14, 1918 in Smith Center, Kan., Jean Sullivan spent her growing-up years in Frontier County. Her parents farmed near Maywood, and she attended the then state agriculture high school in Curtis all four years. She passed away Feb. 12, 2003, just two days short of her 85th birthday.

Even into her 80s she remained close to her high school classmates, returning to Curtis for reunions as late as 1997. Hopefully, when the Rawson scholarships are awarded, recipients can feel that same kind of devotion and loyalty. It would then truly be a gift that keeps on giving through the generations.

The same kind of generosity has been an inspiration at McCook Community College, where gifts from the Mary Brady estate have benefitted students since 1980. Through the early part of the 2000s, more than 2,000 students had received scholarship support from the Walsh-Brady fund, with more than $1.6 million in grants distributed.

We are grateful for the generosity and foresight of Mrs. Rawson and Mrs. Brady. With their bequests, they are benefitting students of today and the future.

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