“Best of Bloch” Celebrates Scholarship Donors and Recipients

Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Photo credit: Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

Student Thanks Donors “For Being A Kind Stranger”

The annual celebration of student scholarship recipients and their donors is a bigger story this year. In a time when students struggle to pay for college, the Bloch School of Management’s donors have made their journey easier.

Due to a generous matching gift opportunity made possible by the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, 55 new scholarships were established and awarded in the last two years. This resulted in more than $1.5 million awarded, quadrupling the total scholarship dollars available to Bloch students.

For the 2015-2016 academic year, more than 175 students received Bloch School-specific scholarships. Included were 21 members of the inaugural class of the Intensive Full-Time MBA, who each received full-tuition awards.

“To our supporters, I hope you know how vital and appreciated your backing is,” said Dave Donnelly, Ph.D., dean of the Bloch School. “While your donations certainly decrease the tuition burden for the students you have met today, the impression on the scholarship recipients goes deeper than that – it shows them the impact a single individual or organization can make and how every little bit makes a big difference,’” said Donnelly.

More than 20 donors and 100 students attended the Best of Bloch luncheon to celebrate the generosity of the donors and the resulting success of the students they support.

“As you can imagine, there is a huge need for scholarships and other types of financial assistance among the UMKC student population,” said Kami Thomas, assistant dean for student services at the Bloch School.

According to Thomas, the Bloch School’s primary goal is to increase the number of awards available and the amount awarded, eliminating as much of the financial burden as possible for students upon graduation.

Senior Yasmin Musaddiq shared with donors the impact their gifts have had on her.

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers. This is not to say that I am looking for a handout, or even that I am looking for someone to give me anything,” said Musaddiq, who is a business major and a member of the UMKC track and field team. “Depending on the kindness of strangers, to me, means working hard to be the best I can be with the hopes that someone may take notice and help me to be even better.”

Donor Mike Plunkett (B.S.A. ’91) established a scholarship to honor his wife and tell her story, and he encouraged others to consider taking the same step.

Plunkett, like Musaddiq, wanted to go to college far away from home so he went to school in Texas. After reading about Henry Bloch’s commitment to the Bloch School, he returned home and started there in his junior year.

“When someone so successful makes a commitment to a place I never considered, it made me think. Bloch is a wonderful place to be, to get involved. I met my wife here,” said Plunkett. “We were students here and both were actively involved. She died four years ago of breast cancer at age 36, and I wanted to do something for her.”

Plunkett and Dave Cornell, Ph.D., associate dean of Bloch, started the Laura Walsh Plunkett Scholarship to honor her and to share the things she did.

“I encourage you to get involved. It’s not just the money and not just for recognition. It’s your obligation to get involved,” said Plunkett.

Given the applause she received, Musaddiq effectively expressed the sentiments of the students attending the luncheon.

“I want to attend the London School of Economics for my master’s degree. Getting through school means I can be successful and help someone pay for their education in the future,” said Musaddiq.

“I have depended on your kindness, your trust, your support and your donations toward my education. Thank you for being kind strangers,” said Musaddiq.

|Wandra Brooks Green, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *