Nov. 15, 2021
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti
By Mike Yawn
This year’s annual Faculty & Staff campaign, Giving Today, Strengthening Tomorrow, is part of our ongoing effort to provide funds for scholarships, academic and program enrichment, equipment, and technology.
The stretch run of the fall semester is a busy time: there are mid-terms, impending holidays, and end-of-the-semester stressors. This is also, however, a time for contemplation. National Philanthropy Day approaches; Thanksgiving, a time of thankfulness and giving, is around the corner; and both fall during the university’s annual Faculty & Staff campaign. These milestones remind us to celebrate those who, through the act of giving, have enhanced the world, their communities, and SHSU.
This month also marks the birthday of Andrew Carnegie, who argued that the wealthy were mere stewards of their wealth, with the obligation of using such resources for the betterment of society. He lived what he spoke. In the last third of his life, he donated 90 percent of his wealth to charities—much of it to libraries, a pension fund for those in institutions of higher learning, and other educational endeavors.This was, he believed, “the noblest possible use of wealth.”
In this spirit, we can enhance our SHSU community by giving to causes such as the SHSU Food Pantry, the Reba Bock Career Closet, or the Bearkat Emergency Fund. Donations to these funds can have a particularly large impact, helping students persist through food insecurity, a job interview, or the latest Texas weather event. These donations allow the university to provide well-timed support to students, support that can affect the entire life course of a student.
Of course, we all have our own causes. For about ten years, I helped organize a student-faculty football fundraiser, a game that purposefully raised funds for SHSU scholarships and, inadvertently, resulted in many contributions to local urgent care facilities. Andrew and Ila Martinez were among the annual donors, and their generosity continued until 2018 when, after 63 years of marriage, they passed away within three weeks of one another.
But, their generosity continues. Their children, Russell Martinez and Andrea Scott, created The Andrew and Ila Martinez Scholarship reflecting the Martinezes’ long record of service. It is to be given to a student engaged in civic or volunteer service. This year’s recipient is sophomore Yvette Mendoza, whose many volunteer endeavors at SHSU and in Huntsville also prompted the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life to select her as a Texas Civic Ambassador.
Donations to student scholarships or campus funds help those in need and reward those who embody the spirit of giving, which, in turn, promotes additional giving. Carnegie seemed to recognize this fact, and he hoped his establishment of a pension for those in higher education would help others recognize the “great value conferred on society” by the education—and the example—we, as educators, offer to others.
This is our time to lend a hand to those in need and, in so doing, to enhance the community in which we work.
Faculty and staff who would like to donate can direct their gift to a particular college, department, or program so that you make an impact where you believe it is most useful. Gifts can be submitted online or by contacting University Advancement at 936-294-3625.
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