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Cameron University Foundation celebrates endowed donors during appreciation event

Cameron University Foundation celebrates endowed donors during appreciation event

John F. Kennedy once said, “Philanthropy, charity, giving voluntarily and freely … call it what you like, but it is truly a jewel of an American tradition.” Taking that to heart, the McCasland Foundation Ballroom at Cameron University was filled with shimmering “jewels” recently in the way of donors whose generosity has resulted in endowed scholarships and endowed faculty positions that pave the way for Cameron students and faculty to pursue their academic dreams.

The Cameron University Foundation hosted its Endowed Donor Appreciation dinner to express gratitude for the selflessness of individuals and organizations that have provided funding to establish endowments. These endowed programs – numbering more then 200 – are integral to the quality education that Cameron students receive and their ability to complete a degree with as little financial stress as possible. Additionally, endowed faculty positions allow Cameron faculty to expand on what is learned inside the classroom, through field trips and experiences for students that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

“This event is the culmination of philanthropy at Cameron University by connecting our donors with our students and faculty to deepen our relationships and allow the understanding of donor impact,” said Albert Johnson, Jr. Vice President for University Advancement.

Dr. Matt Jenkins, a professor in the Department of Communication, English and Foreign Languages, spoke of the opportunities seen by donors who have established endowed faculty positions. Jenkins related how students continue to benefit from the R.H. Drewry Endowed Lectureship in Telecommunications and the John C. Paynter Endowed Lectureship in Communications, both of which provided equipment and resources that are utilized by students on a daily basis.

“Both the Drewry Endowed Lectureship and the Paynter Endowed Lectureship are instrumental in providing needed support, encouraging students to explore, develop and hone professional skills necessary for success in their careers,” Jenkins said.

He shared a text he received from 2022 graduate Dalynna Wood just a few days after she began working as a multimedia specialist for the City of Lawton.

“Hey Dr. J: I just thought I would let you know that in my first few days, I have already got to shoot video, take photos and write articles. It’s been a lot of fun and I have been getting compliments on my footage, so the JRMP department is definitely doing something right.”

“That’s all I need to hear,” Jenkins said. “CU graduates are prepared for careers in their chosen field.”

Jenkins also noted that thanks to the university’s ability to connect graduation data with census data, the majority of CU graduates are employed within the state five years after graduating.

“Our students are staying and contributing to the state and local economy,” he said. “That is a nice return on investing in our students.”

Dr. Krystal Brue, associate professor and chair of the Department of Business and an assistant dean, also addressed the gathering. She related how experiences “beyond the classroom” allows faculty members to provide students with learning opportunities outside of a traditional classroom.

She cited five lectureships – the BancFirst Endowed Lectureship in Finance and Investments; the BancFirst Endowed Lectureship in Investments; the Edward and Lenora Hamra, Edward’s Men’s Wear Endowed Lectureship in Retail Marketing; the Jack and Joyce Amyx Endowed Lectureship in Business Education; and the Dr. Wayne and Cassandra Lawson-Johnson Endowed Lectureship in Business – when noting how each presented experiential learning opportunities to CU students.

Brue spoke directly to the donors in attendance when saying, “Your generosity allows us to move beyond our regular normal classroom and to expose students to people, places and events that would not normally be possible. You help us make our students not just ready for the workplace but also educationally prepare them for success in the workplace.

Student Makenna Hill, a senior English education major from Frederick, shared her excitement at receiving the Presidential Leaders and University Scholars (PLUS) scholarship. “In my eyes, I had just won the lottery, the academic lottery that is. This scholarship made it possible for me to attend college without the worries of money to pay for my education. Because of this scholarship, I focused on taking the time to participate in the college experience.”

After describing the many collegiate activities she has experienced, Hill touched on the difference that donors have made to the campus landscape.

“Evidence of your support and generosity can be found all across our campus, from the Aggie Books & Brew … to the McMahon Centennial Complex where we sit now. Students can be found at all hours of the day working on homework and projects or hanging out with friends. Places like these are the heart of campus and function as a second home to students who commute to classes each day.”

Hill expressed her gratitude to those in attendance who made her collegiate experience possible. “I speak for myself and the other students present tonight as I thank you for supporting us in our educational journeys here at Cameron. Without your support, some of us might not be sitting here right now. I know that the scholarships I received were the determining factor in deciding to attend college. Thank you again for investing in us, in Cameron, and allowing our dreams to become a reality.”



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