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Sept. 22, 2019

University celebrates students, donors during annual ‘Powering Dreams’ event


Northwest Missouri State University students came face-to-face on Sunday with the alumni and friends who support them through their contributions to University scholarships during the seventh annual “Powering Dreams” celebration of donors and scholars in Bearcat Arena.

The celebration is a collaborative event that brings together students and University donors as well as faculty and staff representing the University’s academic affairs division, members of the Northwest Foundation. It provides an opportunity for students to not only thank donors for their investment but exchange stories about their experiences at Northwest and career plans.

“Scholarships are indeed a recognition for things that you’ve accomplished, but more importantly they’re an investment by others in your potential,” Dr. Mike Steiner, Northwest’s associate provost of undergraduate studies, said to students attending the event. “They’re likewise a message of encouragement to continue to work hard, to seek ways to improve and to show those who support you that you’re also appreciative and someday will also give back.”

The Northwest Foundation awarded $1.04 million in financial assistance through 1,344 scholarships during fiscal year 2019. Those numbers represent the highest dollar amount awarded in the history of the Foundation as well as the highest number of donor-funded scholarships awarded.

“Nonetheless, financial challenges for students continue to increase, and our data shows that students who face financial stress also struggle with academic performance,” Steiner said. “[Donors’ contributions] allow our students to focus on their academic progress, spend less time working at extra jobs and hopefully less time worrying with the stress of increasing debt.”

One key component of Northwest’s scholarship program is its Powering Dreams initiative, which aids students who achieve academically but may not have the grade-point average needed to qualify for an academic merit-based scholarship. Or they come from a middle class family whose income is just above the threshold for a financial need-based grant.

“In so many cases, these students find themselves caught in the middle, and the blended approach for Powering Dreams helps meet the financial needs for these students while also acknowledging their good work both in and out of the classroom,” Charles Mayfield, Northwest’s director of financial assistance, said. “Maintaining and growing support for these scholarships embodies the pride that we take in making a Bearcat education an affordable reality.”

Students who graduated from Northwest last year did so with an average debt of about $5,000 less than the national average, Mayfield said.

“Increased support for these scholarships will help continue this downward trend,” he said. “When our students graduate with less debt, they can keep more of their income for things like savings, purchasing a home, raising a family, and that list goes on and on. Perhaps someday, they’ll even choose to fund a Powering Dreams scholarship themselves.”

For more information about ways to contribute to scholarships or make a gift to support Northwest, contact the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or advance@nwmissouri.edu.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704