Jul 30th, 2007 @ 10:30 am | Author: By Ellen-Earle Chaffee
I'm not sure what our new Athletic Director, B.J. Pumroy was expecting for his first week on the job, but it probably wasn't getting "dunked."

Yes, as the new kid on the block, B.J. kindly volunteered to sit in a "dunk tank" organized by Kevin Eggermont from Edward Jones in conjunction with last week's "Crazy Days." Kevin organized the tank as a fund raiser for V-500 scholarships. B.J. is probably just now realizing the unusual form that "community service" can take in Valley City!

In addition to B.J., several other VCSU staffers also participated including Jeff Kaminsky, Head Basketball Coach, Casey Olney, our Head Baseball Coach, Dan Klein, Director of Enrollment Services, and Doug Anderson, our Director of Communications. But many other community members who are not employed by VCSU also took turns in the tank including Valley City Mayor Mary Lee Nielson, County Commissioner Cindy Schwehr, Doug Kiefert of the Valley City Police Department, Jeff Differding from Valley City Public Works, Linda McKenna from the Sherriff's Department, and Kevin Eggermont himself. In all, the tank generated $175 for scholarships.

A dunk tank is a bit of an unusual way to raise money for scholarships; V-500 is primarily funded by individuals and businesses pledging various levels of support over a period of years. Many athletic scholarships are funded in a similar way through annual memberships in the Century Club. Individuals and businesses also set-up named scholarship funds designed for specific purposes such as the McCready Scholars Endowment for outstanding students. Of course we also see some major gifts such as the gifts totaling $1 million from Gary and Connie Tharaldson (80% of which is going to scholarships), the Meredith Scholars for science and math, and scholarships founded by the late Charlotte Van Houten.

But we certainly welcome donations from all sources and of all sizes, and the kind of generosity that Kevin showed by organizing the event is just another sign of the enthusiastic support for scholarships that has fueled their steady growth. In fiscal 2007, total scholarship expenditures were up a remarkable 30% from fiscal 2006, and are expected to rise another 25% in fiscal 2008. That kind of growth is as impressive as it is gratifying, and has been a tremendous boost to both VCSU and the community.

The importance of scholarships to both VCSU and our students cannot be overstated. Competition for students is intense, and scholarships are a key tool we have for attracting and retaining the most talented to VCSU. We rely on scholarships as an important promotional tool as well – the number and the variety of scholarships we have to offer helps keep education affordable for our students and has a direct effect on our enrollment. As a relatively small university, our recruiters constantly compete for quality athletes with much larger universities that have much greater resources. Athletic scholarships help VCSU remain competitive by giving us maximum leverage in this important area.

While I recognize that these issues were probably not on the minds of the people who paid $1 for 3 chances to dunk their favorite target, the benefits remain, and we are grateful to Kevin and all those who support VCSU scholarships for the tremendous impact they make!