April 2, 2009
Securing additional scholarship dollars for students continues to be a high priority at Northwest, and the generosity of a California couple has greatly assisted with that mission. The Northwest Foundation recently received a $1 million cash gift from the estate of Max and Armond Quimby to establish the Quimby-Walker Scholarship fund. The couple's generosity will benefit Northwest's neediest students through the American Dream Grant program.
Having grown up during the Great Depression, the Quimbys knew what tough times were, and they never forgot where they came from. Raised on a farm in Hastings, Iowa, Max Quimby took a job as a soda jerk at local drug store, and his connections there led to sales positions in Omaha, Neb., and Kansas City.
He was a salesman for Life Savers in Kansas City when he met Armond Walker, a business student and elevator operator from Pattonsburg. They married in 1940 and moved to California. In the 1950s, he founded Max R. Quimby and Associates, where he represented manufacturing companies dealing in women's personal lines -- cosmetics, perfumes, watches, jewelry -- and negotiated their display in retail department stores. He sold the business and retired in the early 1980s.
The couple toured the Northwest campus in summer 1986 with Armond Quimby's brothers, Royce Walker and Buck Walker, and their wives. Assisting Northwest, where Buck Walker had attended in the 1930s, was a decision for which the Quimbys felt their entire family could be proud.
The American Dream Grant, where the funds have been directed, is the only program of its kind in the nation. Recipients meet Northwest's moderately selective admissions criteria and come from the neediest families based on their application for federal aid. Unlike other needs-based programs, the grant pays virtually all college expenses during a student's first two years at the University, including tuition, room, board, books and the use of a laptop computer.
"When financial barriers for students are eliminated, they're able to concentrate on academics and achieving their life goals," said Orrie Covert, executive director of the Northwest Foundation. "However, the number of awards given is limited by University funding and donor support."
Since the program's inception in 2004, more than 840 students have benefited from the American Dream Grant. In addition, more than 400 students who were awarded the American Dream Grant during their first two years of study are now attending as full-time students without grant funds.
Like the Quimbys, many Northwest alumni and friends have committed their support to the American Dream Grant through either an outright gift or by way of a planned or deferred gift. Gifts at any level can support the American Dream Grant. For more information, call Laurie Long, a development officer for the Northwest Foundation, at 660.562.1248 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.