WHERE $1,000 GOES
As the Culverhouse scholarship coordinator, Christa Morris hears a lot of stories about students in need. But few stories are as riveting as the
young woman living in her car to pay tuition.
“We’re giving her some money to tide her over,” said Morris of the student
whom she hopes to help through significant scholarships. “The Culverhouse
gift is very generous because we’ll be able to help these sorts of students. I’m
seeing students from out of state with loans of $80,000. I had a student who
had Pell Grants one year, but his mother made $10 more the next year than
the maximum amount allotted, which cut him off from Pell Grants. That’s
when those students start to take out loans.”
Although Morris hopes other donors will consider emulating Hugh
Culverhouse’s generosity, she said even relatively modest donations make
a difference. She said some alumni groups have banded together to help,
citing the “Never Should Have Made It Club.” These former “less than stellar”
scholars offer monies for those who might not otherwise qualify for high GPA
Every donation matters, Morris said. “Sometimes $500 is the difference
between buying all your books or not being able to come to school. We have
travel scholarships for students to buy an interview suit, if they need it. We
are careful to allocate money only to deserving students who are working but
still can’t meet their expenses. Any amount you give, whether it’s $100 or
$100,000, we can put to use.”
A $100 donation can provide résumé-holding black folders for students
who can’t afford the portfolios customarily used at career fairs, said Amy
Henderson. Henderson directs Culverhouse Connections, an effort designed
to develop students’ professional skills and mentor contacts.
In a hiring climate requiring networking and work experience as well as
academic achievement, Culverhouse Connections is considered an essential
College of Commerce asset.
“We are not a state-funded program. Our funds, including my salary, come
solely from donations and the Dean’s discretionary funds,” said Henderson of
the program’s services.
A check for $1,000 can cover Culverhouse Connections’ printing costs. “And
we do networking events that involve food, demonstrating correct interview
dining etiquette. Those can be pretty expensive to host.” More generous
donations could send deserving students to New York, Chicago or other major
cities to network with alumni groups and potential employers.
Any professional’s gift of time is also critical, said Henderson. She continually
seeks experienced industry representatives for mentoring, job shadowing or
speaking to groups of undergraduates hungry for industry information.
From funding student-attendees at leadership summits to providing critical
scholarship money or professional expertise, Henderson and Morris say
donors make a difference.
involving students can further the
College’s influence and future alumni’s
•Pending plans could firmly establish
Culverhouse as a data-mining center,
offering in-demand analytical expertise
unmatched anywhere and serving
corporations around the world.
•Fortune 100 recruiters should
continue to find on-campus meeting and
interview spaces, as is customary within
this tier of schools.
•Expanded scholarships, fellowships,
technology funding and research funds
can secure the College’s solid reputation
among educators and corporate leaders.
•Increased funds for career coaching
through Culverhouse Connections and
the Career Center will prep students for
industry’s evolving needs.
“I sense that we’re at a crossroads,”
Hardin said. “The University is now in a
national spotlight that is drawing not only
some of the best and brightest students
in the Southeast but from across the
nation. We’re seeing more international
students than before. I’ve never been
more confident in the ability of our faculty
to both rigorously prepare these students
and to offer innovative business solutions
through their research. Meanwhile, we
enjoy the benefits of the strong support
and leadership of the board of visitors,
along with exceptional corporate
relationships that benefit our students.
Recruiters recognize the talent we are
“I agree with Don Nalley that the
essential missing piece is a fully funded
endowment from which we can generate
the required income to maintain and
expand our efforts. I feel confident that our
supporters will respond as generously as
Hugh Culverhouse has done — once they
understand where the money goes.”