Communication department enhances scholarship

The Truman State communication department attempts to enhance one of many low-threshold foundation scholarships that have not received funding in several years.

As part of its annual Communication Week, the communication department hosted a series of events during the week of Nov. 2. The money raised from the events will go toward the enhancement of the Clifton-Cornwell Award for Electronic Media Scholarship.

The award was established with a $3,000 gift from 1934 graduate William L. Moore in honor of his late professor, who served as part of the Truman faculty during 1924-1945. Becky Pike, manager of foundation scholarships, says it is awarded to a communication student with a highly creative ability in writing for broadcast or radio journalism.

Foundation scholarships are applied toward student tuition and living costs and are intended to lessen or eliminate the amount of loans a student needs to take out. However, the cost of starting a foundation scholarship has increased because of rising tuition costs and inflation. Pike says establishing a foundation scholarship initially costs a minimum of $15,000.

“In years past, it was a lower amount, maybe $3,000,” Pike says.

Starting the Process

Pike says she initially was approached by communication professor Barry Poyner. She says he originally proposed the enhancement of the Clifton-Cornwell Award in order to collectively begin enhancing other low-threshold scholarships that haven’t seen funding increases in years.

Poyner says he chose to focus on this scholarship because of its small award amount of $100. Poyner says the scholarship currently has a balance of $5,166.08 and has not seen significant funding since 2007.

Poyner and Pike spoke on the current state of the Clifton-Cornwell Scholarship compared to relatively newer awards. The Dr. Albert J. Weitz Endowed Scholarship was established during 2012 with gifts totalling $15,715. The award, named after former communication professor Albert Weitz, has the same criteria for award recognition as the Cornwell Scholarship. However, the greater relevancy for the Weitz Scholarship plays into its funding.

While Poyner says he did not approach Pike about any other scholarships, he hopes this will begin a trend for other low-threshold awards within the communication department.

Raising Funds

Three of Poyner’s students planned a “roast” of fellow communication professor Jay Self. The event took place Nov. 4, along with a silent auction located nearby. Proceeds from the event and personal donations will help fund the enhancement of the Clifton-Cornwell Scholarship. Through gifts and ticket sales for the roast alone, the scholarship has more than doubled, Poyner says.

Senior Rowen Sears was on the committee of students that planned the roast. The committee wanted to encourage the growth of the Clifton-Cornwell Award.

“That’s primarily the reason we’re doing it: for the scholarship.”

–Senior Rowen Sears

Lamda Pi Eta and the Communication Club are sponsoring these events to raise funds for the Clifton-Cornwell Award. Both organizations donated to the scholarship’s funding. The Communication Club will also contribute $100.

Financial Aid Director Kathy Elsea says foundation scholarships are funded privately by money donated to the University. Foundation awards are set up and funded individually by donors.