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Class of 1967 funds merit scholarships

Members of the class of 1967 have established an endowed merit scholarship with the aim of bringing to campus students who mirror the intellectual curiosity and range of interests they themselves showed when they arrived at Transylvania nearly five decades ago.

“We were a very diverse group of philosophers, music makers, scholars, writers, athletes, political pundits, and social leaders,” said Jan Allinder Anestis ’67, who spearheaded creation of the Class of 1967 Scholarship. “Much of our development occurred in the classroom, but perhaps as important were the lessons we learned from each other.”

The scholarship (two have already been awarded) is being used to help attract students with exceptional talent or extraordinary leadership skills that will enhance the diversity of the student population. It is awarded in honor of the class and in memory of those who have passed on.

“We are using the word ‘diversity’ in the broadest possible sense,” Anestis said. “Having students from different parts of the country is one possible consideration, as are such factors as particular talents in music or drama, or students with high leadership profiles. We are not limiting ourselves in how we view diversity.”

The idea that diversity has a broad positive effect on the student body is captured in a core belief of the scholarship founders, stated in a letter establishing the award: “The exceptional talent or extraordinary skills of one student benefits everyone within that community.”

Anestis said the impulse to begin the scholarship can be traced back to the formation of a scholarship at her husband’s alma mater, Yale University, in memory of a baby the couple had lost. The couple received letters from student recipients that brought them much pleasure.

“Years later, it occurred to me that many people do not have the funds or the time to devote to forming an endowed scholarship on their own,” she said. “That’s when the idea of a scholarship from our entire class was born.”

Since beginning the ongoing campaign to fund the scholarship in 2007, the class’s 40th reunion year, more than $90,000 has been raised, including a lead gift from Anestis and her husband. This has been sufficient to award the first two scholarships, but the class has more ambitious plans—to eventually create a full-tuition scholarship.

“It occurred to me that funding a merit scholarship at or near the monetary level of Transylvania’s William T. Young Scholarship (full tuition and fees) might target students who narrowly missed being chosen for the Young award,” said Georgia Green Stamper ’67, a member of the scholarship committee. “The more we talked about this, the more we realized that it was just about as easy to think big as to think small.”

“It’s very exciting to imagine that decades from now, a merit scholarship from our class might enable an exceptional young woman or man to attend Transylvania,” Anestis said.

Holly MilburnIn the meantime, the first Class of 1967 Scholarship was awarded to Brittny Congleton ’09, a drama major and women’s studies minor. She is currently pursuing her dream of being an actor by attending classes at Second City Training Center for Improv and Musical Improv in Chicago. The second award went to senior Holly Milburn (right), a social justice major and star player on the women’s basketball team. She hopes to earn a master’s degree in international development and a certificate in humanitarian assistance.

“When I graduate this May, I know that I will be fully prepared to take the next step and offer to others all the wonderful things that Transy has given me,” Milburn wrote in a letter of appreciation to the class of 1967. “For this, I extend my thanks. Your contributions have helped make all of this possible for me.”

Wandaleen Poynter Cole ’67 is also a committee member and has derived great personal satisfaction from her work on the scholarship.

“Having a class scholarship and contributing to it makes me feel united again with my classmates for a very special purpose,” she said. “It’s kind of like an ongoing class reunion that refreshes memories and makes me an active part of the Transy community. Jan’s incredible generosity, thoughtfulness, and clarity of purpose have given our class something of which we can be very proud.”

Echoing the statement from the 2007 letter announcing the scholarship, Stamper said, “I believe the committee feels that if Transylvania is to move forward, attracting the best students is essential. The leavening effect of the best and brightest raises the university experience for all Transylvania students.”

Other committee members from the class of 1967 include Brenda Bell, Bettye Stehle Burns, Carl B. Fairchild, Stephen C. Hombach, John B. Mansdorfer, and Ernie W. Stamper.

 Class of 1967
Many members of the class of 1967 have contributed to a scholarship named after the class. Shown above at the class reunion during Alumni Weekend 2007 are, front row, from left: John Mansdorfer, Jay Gross, Virginia Neuhoff, Kathy Morris Riester, Jan Allinder Anestis, Connie Mumford Houston, Brenda Bell; second row: Steve Hombach, Georgia Green Stamper, Grady Lehman, Mac Harris, Chris Leonard Watkins, Wanda Poynter Cole, Bettye Stehle Burns, David McFadden; back row: Bud Fairchild, Ernie Stamper, Steve Merriman, Rich Buchbinder, Jim Wheeler, Larry Webster, Jeff Abele, Bill McDonald.
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