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Senior Brings College Experience Full Circle Through Giving Campaign

Jan. 11, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Meredith Mohr

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Meredith Mohr is a senior mass communication major from Tyler. In the following, she discusses her decision to begin paying her education forward as a student through SHSU's Senior Legacy Campaign by working to fund a scholarship for one of her peers.

 

Though it seems like it was only yesterday, I visited this campus nearly four years ago for Saturdays@Sam with my mom. I distinctly remember going into the computer lab in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Building and thinking it was the most overwhelming place in the world. That day, I never dreamed what kinds of things I would do as a student at Sam Houston in the next four years or the ways that I would figure out who I am as a person and student, leaving the nervousness and anxiety of the fear of college—and the computer lab—long behind me.

In May, I will graduate with honors with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism and art, and perhaps it will be time for the next step, the next moment of awaiting my next great adventure. But it all started here, at this university.

One of the things I have been a part of during my last year at Sam Houston has been the Senior Class Legacy Campaign committee. The senior class of 2012 began the tradition of awarding a scholarship to a fellow student, and the class of 2013 will continue it this year, with each class in the coming years participating as well. In partnering with the University Advancement’s annual giving program, my classmates and I—from varying organizations and departments on campus—are aiming to bring our great experiences at SHSU full circle. We may not have the money to start an endowment fund right now, but we have an appreciation for what this university has done for us and a little bit of money to help put that appreciation into something tangible.

(Top) Mohr outside her first dorm; (middle) with the students in the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College, which has been a big part of her college experience; (bottom) with Lt. Col. David Yebra and a fellow honors student during the Honors College fundraising event Let's Talk. —Submitted photos

My purpose on this committee is not only to help raise enough money for a scholarship for a fellow student with financial need, but also to remind them, through that scholarship, that I want them to feel welcome here. I want them to know that this is a wonderful school, and as I leave it in May, I will remember it for the ways that it has changed me for the better.

There have been countless friends, professors, mentors, bosses and classmates who have encouraged me and pushed me forward when I thought it was impossible to keep going or that I couldn’t possibly survive writing one more paper. I hope that this gift of the possibility of education will be a similar encouragement to whoever receives it. A little push. One more little thing that helps a big thing—graduation or whatever lies ahead—seem a little closer than before. To do well, it will take persistence and maybe a few all-nighters, and you may learn to like coffee. It will take courage. And after all, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, I imagine, with a twinkle in her eye, leaning forward, as if with some great secret, “Courage is exhilarating.”

There was something else special about that weekend when I visited SHSU, because I attended the High School Honors Dinner for the Elliott T. Bowers Honors College. My family is from Tyler, and I went to high school in Whitehouse—if any of you are from the Piney Woods, you may know that we had one of the most successful and competitive (maybe to a fault) University Interscholastic League Academic teams around. I loved being a part of that, even if it meant that I indelibly was a member of the “nerd herd.” So when I was invited to be a part of the Honors College here at Sam Houston—also sometimes known by the same nickname—I knew it would be a place where I could feel I belonged. Of course, that didn’t change the nervous anxiety of a high school kid transitioning into an independent college student. But within five minutes of arriving at the dinner, I met a young lady named Heather Itzen, who has since graduated and has been extremely successful in the television-broadcasting field. She was an undergraduate mass communication student at the time and an Honors Ambassador, and she started talking to me about mass communication and professors and college life, and suddenly I had a friend. I have never forgotten that experience, and I am reminded often of her warm welcome to college and to the Honors College, especially now that I am an Honors Ambassador. She made an impact on me as a totally freaked out new kid in a world I was completely unfamiliar with.

That night was the beginning of my journey at college and with the Honors College, and since then, the Honors College, along with numerous other scholarships, have been immensely helpful in contributing to my education financially. But something else these scholarships have done is remind me that there is someone who believes I can do it. That support is invaluable. Just like Heather did for me, with this scholarship, I hope to generate the same kind of encouragement, friendship and support.

To the recipient of the scholarship, the person that you will be when you leave the steep hills and close knit community of Sam Houston—as a student, a leader, a writer, an intellect, whomever it is behind the dreams you are chasing—will never be the same.

If you’d like to be a part of this project with us, visit shsu.edu/~ua_www/seniorgifts.html and shsu.edu/giving for more information.

 

 

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