by Matt Getty, video by Joe O’Neill
Dickinson's Scholarship Luncheon recently gave more than 60 donors firsthand insight into the impact of their gifts, which help the college provide more than $40 million in scholarships and financial aid each year. Held in the HUB Social Hall, the event united donors with roughly 50 scholarship students for lunch, performances of original music composed and conducted by the college’s Weiss Prize winners and speeches by a student, an alumnus and President Nancy Roseman on the importance of the gifts.
“By supporting our students, you make a wise investment in all of our futures,” Roseman told attendees, “because our students go out there and make a difference.”
One of those former students now making a difference is Dwight Dunston ’10, who shared his Dickinson story with attendees. Dunston earned a B.A. in English, ran for the college’s only triple-crown winning track and field team and studied abroad in Norwich, England. What defined these experiences, he noted, were the personal relationships with faculty and fellow students that he couldn’t have developed at any other college.
Dwight Dunston '10. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.
“This experience was monumental in helping me pursue the passions that I have today,” said Dunston, who is now assistant director of admission at Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia and an enthusiastic Dickinson scholarship donor.
Attendees also heard from current student Noorjahan Akbar ’14 (sociology), a Kabul native who already has made her mark through her fight for gender equality in Afghanistan. Akbar’s efforts to fight street harassment and promote education for Afghan women have earned her coverage as one of Forbes magazine’s Most Powerful Women in the World and Glamour magazine’s Top College Woman, and she credited her Dickinson education with helping her become an “agent of change.”
Noorjahan Akbar ’14. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.
“I have transformed as a woman to become more outspoken about things I care about, and I have transformed as an individual into a more aware person because of the lessons I have learned here,” said Akbar, who will be attending graduate school for journalism. “As a student at Dickinson, I have learned about the power of my own voice and the collective voices of individuals, and I have learned about the power of education in changing lives.”
David Cochrane '14 conducts students singing The Eldritch Dark, a setting of the texts of Clark Ashton Smith (1893–1961) by Stephen Reale ’14. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.
The event also gave audience members the opportunity to engage directly with other fruits of philanthropy, as they heard performances of pieces composed by seniors Stephen Reale (neuroscience, music) and Alex Strenta (music) and conducted by David Cochrane (Russian, music), the winners of the college’s Emil R. and Tamar Weiss Prize in the Creative Arts. As impressive as the performances were, however, the true music to the donors’ ears was likely the thanks they got from the students they support.
“I want to thank everyone who has helped me learn these valuable lessons on this campus,” said Akbar, “because I am aware of what a rare opportunity this is and how lucky and privileged I am to be graduating from Dickinson College.”
Published May 6, 2014