Every semester since fall 2014, the students who receive endowed scholarships at Missouri S&T have done something “old fashioned” in the Instagram age — they’ve picked up pen and paper and written thank-you notes to their donors. This fall, more than 1,100 students joined in.
During the first week of classes every semester, scholarship students visit Hasselmann Alumni House to participate in Postmark Gratitude, a letter-writing marathon designed to highlight the partnership that students share with their scholarship donors, and connect students and their benefactors in a meaningful way.
“The act of writing a thank-you note — and the reciprocal act of receiving it — creates a one-to-one connection that is powerful in its simplicity and profound in its impact,” says Joan Nesbitt, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “The feedback we receive from donors is exceptionally positive. But what is equally gratifying is the fact that so many students say they appreciate the opportunity to communicate with their donors.”
For Steve Rector, PetE’72, MS PetE’73, a first-generation college graduate who came to S&T on a scholarship, giving back is important. Rector and his wife, Susan, receive approximately 30 thank-you notes every year from students supported by the Stephen and Susan Rector Petroleum Engineering Endowed Scholarship.
“We read every one of those cards,” says Rector, president of the Miner Alumni Association board of directors. “It’s always a delight to learn about the students who hold our scholarships. Many S&T students are first-generation college students like I was. I owe my career success to the scholarship I held for four years.”