Inspired students leave a legacy -- TWU students initiate scholarship for students they may never meet

Langley, B.C.—At the end of a four year university career there is one thing that often catches up with most graduates: student loans. And for new professional in a volatile job market, student loans can prove to be an issue for years to come. Three recent TWU graduates and one TWU student however, have chosen to place the concerns of others above their own financial needs.

Kelly Hart, a political science alumnus (’02) and Brad Penner, a fourth year business student, both came to TWU from average-income homes, relying on scholarships, student loans and faith to make it through university. As members of TWU’s Student Council and past Student Association presidents, they had the unique opportunity to investigate TWU’s administration and finance up close. It was there that they had an eye-opening experience.

“We realized how many people contribute financially to make our TWU experience possible,” says Penner. “But it’s still not enough. The need is great and we want to help make the TWU experience possible for many other students.”

So these two students took action.

Late last year, in the midst of studying for finals, Penner and Hart initiated a scholarship fund for incoming Trinity Western students. In April, after six months of hard work, the Horizon Scholarship went public with an interactive website (www.horizonfund.ca) where guests can visit to learn more about the scholarship or donate online. Penner and Hart’s goal is to see 200 graduating students and recent alumni give $20.00 a month toward the award. This would translate into $48,000.00 per year, permanently generating interest for the scholarship.

“We thought of it as an innovative way to help encourage our peers to give back to their university by re-investing into other people’s lives, even if it’s just in a nominal way,” says Hart. “We’ve done the legwork to create the initiative and now we’re just asking people to join us.”

Inga Warnock, Director of Planned Giving, was delighted to provide support to the project. “It’s a wonderful way of just bringing the community together. One person alone can do only very little, but hundreds with the same focus and same vision can do great things.”

Penner and Hart have already committed monthly finances to the initiative, despite their student loans and continued education this fall—Penner at TWU, and Hart at law school in Ottawa.

Like Penner and Hart, inspired TWU alumni Jerome Da Silva (’98) and Clayton Tuffnell (’98) were also moved to create a scholarship. As recent UBC Medical School graduates, they initiated the Alumni PreMed Scholarship in 2002 to help PreMed students avoid some of the financial burdens that Da Silva and Tuffnell faced.

“Because I’ve recently graduated, I know that the financial hardships of attaining a medical degree are still very real,” says Da Silva. “I just finished applying for a residency position and it reminded me once again of the unexpected costs of applying to medical school.” Among the unexpected costs are applications fees, test fees and travel fees for interviews.

Tuffnell agreed to partner with Da Silva after doing his clinical practice last year in TWU’s health centre. “When I was at the centre I was encouraged to meet a number of current students initiating the application process for medical school, but I was reminded of the challenges they face. I welcome the opportunity to give back to TWU by way of a bursary, and I hope some of my fellow alumni will feel the same.”

The Alumni PreMed Scholarship is an endowed scholarship available to fourth year PreMed students who have a GPA of 3.5 and have registered for the MCAT exam. Peers and colleagues of Da Silva and Tuffnell’s can respond their request for scholarship support by contacting TWU alumni at 1-800-463-5419 or alumni@twu.ca. Alumni interested in partnering with Hart and Penner through the Horizon scholarship can visit the website at www.horizonfund.ca

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a not-for-profit Christian liberal arts university enrolling over 3,200 students this year. With a broad based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 38 major areas of study ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 other graduate degrees including counseling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

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Last Updated: 2015-07-13
Author: Keela Keeping