Scholarship Dinner

Grant Gymnasium
April 16, 2012

President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble
Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Julian Schuster


Good evening and welcome to Webster University's annual Scholarship Dinner.  I am Beth Stroble, President of Webster University, and your host for the evening. I hope you enjoyed the entertainment during the reception provided by two of our scholarship recipients: Chloe Feoranzo, a Sophomore Music major, and Gabriel Maichel, a Senior Music Education major. Thank you for performing for us tonight.  

Currently, 92.5 percent of Webster Groves flat-fee, undergraduate students receive financial aid in the form of loans and scholarship assistance.  Very clearly, endowed and annual scholarships meet a real need for Webster students.   Tonight we celebrate the connection of those with need and those who meet it. 

We have approximately 295 people in attendance tonight.  Alumni scholarship donors are here from the east coast to the west coast from Chicago in the north to San Antonio in the south. 

In December, we completed Webster Works, a comprehensive campaign that raised in excess of $56 million from generous alumni and friends.   The funds raised through Webster Works have already begun and will continue to transform the way our students learn and work.   These funds further the University mission of ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.   

One of the major components of the Webster Works campaign raised additional funds for scholarships. I am pleased to announce that 45 new endowed scholarships were established during the Webster Works Campaign. 

In 2007, as part of the campaign, we also established the annual scholarship program that allows donors to make annual contributions to help support our students.  Since the inception of the program, 239 annual scholarships have been awarded – this year, 91 students received annual scholarships — an all-time high.

Scholarships make a tremendous difference to our students, in both large and small ways. Sophomore Kathleen Alexander received the Liberal Arts, Sciences & Education Endowed Scholarship this year.

An International Relations major, Kathleen is not here tonight because she is studying in Geneva. She wrote to us:

[This scholarship] goes a long way, and I am so grateful that it will make it possible for me to study in Geneva. This ultimately means that I get to perfect my French, network at the international campus, expand my horizon, and most importantly, I get to make my parents proud.

We, too, are enormously proud of our scholars. Would all of our scholarship recipients please stand?

During dinner, I know the students at your tables will want to tell you about the opportunities and experiences that scholarship support made possible for them. Enjoy the meal, and your conversations. 

(Dinner) 

Hello again!  I hope you enjoyed this opportunity to get acquainted.  

As most of you know, former Webster president Jacqueline Grennan Wexler, who led this University through transformative changes in the 1960s, died early this year. Jacqueline was an elemental force during her tenure here, described in a Look magazine profile in 1967 as “the nun who raised the roof beam at Webster.”  

That roof beam remains solid and strong, thanks in part to the leadership of a group of staunch friends: our Board of Trustees. Several of them are with us this evening. Please welcome Tom Cornwell, Paul Lee, Joe McKee, and Jerry Ritter.

Thank you for your commitment to this University and our students.

Now, I would like to invite Dr. Julian Schuster, Provost and Senior Vice President, to the stage to introduce tonight’s scholarship speakers.

Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. Julian Schuster

Donors Amy and Todd Kohlbecker agreed to share their story with you this evening. For the past four years, Amy and Todd Kohlbecker have funded annual scholarships for students in the School of Communications. Todd earned a masters degree in Media Communications from Webster in 1993. He is Vice President for Corporate Real Estate at Brown Shoe Company and a past president of Webster’s Alumni Association and former Trustee.

Afterward, you’ll hear the stories of students Matthew Wiemer, a Senior History and Film Studies major who received the Sister Mary Mangan Endowed Scholarship, and Yvonne Osei, a Junior double-majoring in Graphic Design and International Studies with a concentration in Media Communications.

Yvonne received the Dr. Neil J. George Endowed International Study Scholarship and the Sister Gabriel Mary Hoare Endowed Scholarship. 

Please welcome our scholarship speakers. 

President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble

Thank you, Amy and Todd, Matt, and Yvonne for sharing yourselves and your stories with us this evening.

Now, to close out the evening, please welcome the Webster University Chamber Singers, led by Trent Patterson.

(Choir Sings)

In an address to students and faculty, Jacqueline Wexler once said:

We’re all co-learners here, co-searchers, contemplative human beings [who] are still compelled to ask questions, with honesty and driving force and integrity. … If we open our persons to such a real world, if we open our persons to other real persons, we will find our voices, and they will be heard, but more wondrously — most wondrously of all — we will begin to find ourselves. 

You, our donors, have opened yourselves to our students, providing them with the means to learn, and search, and contemplate. Your support is helping them to find their voices, and ultimately to find themselves. 

Thank you for joining with us in this amazing process. Thank you for your dedication and generosity.  

It has been another remarkable evening celebrating our dear friends and donors and our extraordinary students. 

We hope you enjoyed the dinner, the conversation and our beautiful centerpieces.  If you have a star on the back of your program, it’s your lucky night—you have won the centerpiece!

Good night!