News Item

Donors, Recipients attend Lander Scholarship Banquet

November 25, 2014
Lander University held its annual Eleanor Shiflet Teal Scholarship Banquet recently in the Horne Arena. The event attracted more than 400 scholarship supporters and student recipients.

The banquet serves as an opportunity for students to meet the donors who have made their Lander scholarships possible. During the 2014-2015 academic year, more than 460 Lander students have received scholarships supported by alumni, friends of the university and businesses.

Speaking during the banquet were Linda McLean Stevens, a 1993 Lander graduate, and Kenneil Mitchell, a junior, from Columbia, majoring in mass communication and theatre.

Stevens spoke of the anxiety she faced as a mother and former nurse who decided to earn her degree as a non-traditional college student. “I remember all too well the nervousness I felt about making sure I knew where my classes were and saying to my fellow classmates, ‘Yes, I know; I’m old enough to be your mother.’” Stevens would go on to graduate with magna cum laude honors. “I can tell you,” she said, “that one of my proudest moments was graduating from Lander with my son, Jerry.”

In addition to helping other non-traditional students overcome their anxiety in adjusting to collegiate life on campus, Linda’s husband, Bill, established the Linda McLean Stevens Scholarship in 2005 – a scholarship designed to assist students in similar circumstances. “We’re so thankful to be able to help other non-traditional students who perhaps missed the chance to further their education and would like another opportunity.”

During his remarks, Mitchell spoke of the lifeline offered by supporters in the form of scholarships. “When I was in high school, I was determined to work as hard as I could so that I would not have to take out student loans,” he said. “But I did indeed have to take out the loans, and I couldn’t help but feel like a failure. But then, something happened. I began to receive scholarships from people I didn’t know. They were looking at my grades – at all the hard work I had put in – and said, ‘I want to invest in this young man.’ I stand before you today as a truly blessed man, and I thank those who saw my efforts and invested in my future.”

Ralph Patterson, vice president for University Advancement at Lander, echoed the thoughts of Stevens and Mitchell in saying, “The backing of our past, current and future supporters helps make a college education affordable for thousands of Lander students.”

For information about creating a scholarship or supporting one, call Lander’s University Advancement office at 864-388-8350.