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How Scholarships Impact IU Students

Cleo Hoey, you just graduated from Immaculata University. What are you going to do now?

She’s going to Disney World!

After graduating in May, Hoey begins a paid internship this fall through the Disney College Program, where she will be placed in any of the four theme parks at Disney World Resorts. Hoey is excited for the opportunities to work directly with children during her internship, and to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to be part of a team.

After high school, Hoey earned a Presidential Scholarship from Immaculata, which paid full tuition. She graduated with a double major in communication and education, with a minor in digital media and a special education concentration.

In the United States, approximately 4 million students leave college each year with that coveted sheet of paper declaring their academic achievements and preparing them for a career. Next, most of these same newly minted graduates need to begin paying off their college debt. At Immaculata, 100% of new incoming students in the College of Undergraduate Studies receive an academic scholarship. Dina Stern, director of the office of financial aid, adds that Immaculata offers many different scholarships, such as merit-based scholarships, need-based scholarships, IU Catholic school grants and legacy grants. In addition, Immaculata also offers endowed and non-endowed scholarships, funded by generous donors.

In 2022, seven donors established endowed scholarships at Immaculata, one of the highest numbers for Immaculata in one year. “The desire to ‘pay it forward’ is often one of the main reasons why donors establish and fund scholarships,” states Susan Arnold, vice president for institutional advancement. “Donors also want students to have the same educational experience that they, or their family members, had as students and are willing to help support current Immaculata students.”

Susan Schultz, whose mother graduated from Immaculata with a degree in family and consumer sciences, established the Florence Krupp Pahides ’71 Endowed Scholarship, to honor her mother’s love for education. Schultz explained that when she and her brother were young children, their mom went back to school to earn her college degree.

“She was a full-time mom, and family was number one,” Schultz states. “My mom went to class, did what she needed to do to get her homework and exams done, and then went home to fold the wash, iron the sheets and make a roast beef dinner.” Schultz points out that her mom was definitely a mom and housewife of the 1950s, but with support from Schultz’s father, Florence was also college-educated. She taught at Penn Crest/Rose Tree Media School District for 25 years. Because her mom served as a role model to Schultz and her brother—and also to their children—Schultz established a scholarship in memory of her.

One common theme among scholarship recipients is gratitude for having the financial burden lifted so they can concentrate on classes and academic excellence.

As Maeve Touhey ’23 stood before the crowd in the Great Hall, ready to welcome guests to the annual fashion show in April, she wasn’t worried about finances or student loans. In that moment, she was gaining invaluable experience in her field. Touhey, a fashion merchandising major, received the Centennial Scholarship, introduced during Immaculata’s centennial year.

“The Centennial Scholarship has helped me because it gives me security,” she states. “I do not have to worry about the financial cost of pursuing something I love.”

The same is true for music major David Graham ’22, who received the Presidential Scholarship. His senior recital provided a night of high-class saxophone repertoire and live jazz. As a self-described special learner, Graham appreciated that professors created assignments that allowed students to display knowledge in a way that worked for them. Even though the pandemic forced students to learn online, Graham and his classmates continued expanding and sharing their musical talent by posting recordings of their musical works and holding virtual events that highlighted their talents.

As a recipient of the Maguire Foundation Scholarship since freshman year, Joseph Billetta ’22, a digital communications major, acknowledges that the scholarship takes some financial weight off his shoulders. “It allows me a little more peace of mind while pursuing my studies and gives me the ability to focus more time on participating in local theater.” No matter what his future holds, Billetta plans to continue performing and is grateful to have the tools to succeed.

Emily Pablo-Medina is a first-generation college student pursuing her nursing degree. During high school, she took college courses at a local community college and earned both her high school diploma and an associate degree last summer. She applied for the Karen Valyo, R.N. Memorial Endowed Scholarship and was the first student to be awarded it.

Mary Ann Valyo established the scholarship to financially help students follow her daughter’s footsteps into nursing. Spending her entire professional career in the nursing field, Karen excelled as an operating room nurse before impacting health care from the business side by launching her own auditing system. Mary Ann fondly remembers that no matter what role Karen delved into, she always had a great rapport with patients, doctors and her nursing colleagues. Karen died in 1998. The scholarship is in recognition of Karen’s dedication to nursing and to support other students who want to make a difference in people’s lives.

“Becoming a nurse is my biggest dream,” Pablo-Medina says. “I really want to care for people in need, in every way possible.”

No matter how much tuition assistance students receive, they still need to find a college that is right for them. Julianna Jones ’23, a nursing major who received an Independence Blue Cross Nurses for Tomorrow scholarship, states, “I cannot imagine how different my life would be had I gone anywhere else but here.”