On April 14, 2011, scholarship donors and their student recipients gathered to celebrate Queens' seventh annual Scholars Luncheon, "Building Strong Foundations." Each spring, this special Queens event allows donors and their scholars the opportunity to connect in person. For donors, it's an opportunity to meet the talented students they support; for students, it means a chance to say "thank-you" face-to-face.
Emily Knowles, senior benefit consultant at Benefit Controls Company, delivered this year's keynote address and shared a moving testimony of her decision to establish The Robert Knowles Communication Scholarship at Queens in memory of her late husband Bob Knowles, news anchor for WBTV in Charlotte.
"After one meeting with President Pamela Davies, it was clear to me that Queens was the absolute right place for Bob's scholarship," she said. "The quality of this institution, Pamela's commitment to a very progressive future, the degree to which faculty and staff were so connected to the students, and the fact that Queens truly represents the essence of what is best about Charlotte, easily convinced me that Queens would best represent what was important to Bob."
Quoting Marianne Williamson, Emily praised donors in the audience for "letting their light shine by giving so generously to the next generation who will serve the world." In closing, she challenged the students present to "go boldly, and while life can be bumpy, know that you are getting a very special start here at Queens."
The program included heartfelt testimonials from three current scholarship recipients. Taking the stage after a brief video highlighting her experience on this year's Guatemala Mission Trip, Leslie Pitman '11, Willie Choate Hampton Presidential Scholar and graduating senior, said: "I will always return here with a grateful heart, remembering those whose support made my journey at Queens possible." Adora Reid, '12, North Carolina Teaching Fellow, eloquently thanked those present for "having the hearts to give to students who have so much potential to grow if only given the chance."
Craven Crockett, a junior business major and Pauline Lewis Fellow in Queens' Hayworth College, shared his journey to Queens and moved the audience with his commitment to pursuing higher education: "Born and raised in a single-parent home of three brothers and sisters in one of Charlotte's most impoverished neighborhoods, it was inevitable that the odds were stacked against me. But now I stand before you, not as a victim of the environment that was once bestowed upon me, but a product of the Queens environment that you all have helped create."
Echoing the theme of this year's event, "Building Strong Foundations," President Pamela Davies reminded Queens' donors and friends of the pivotal role they play in preparing students for successful lives. "Every one of you here today makes a significant and permanent difference in the lives of our students. I am certain there are students among us today who are future Queens Trustees and scholarship donors, students who will go on to do important work and give generously in many communities throughout the world. You are laying that foundation for them."
Go here to see photos from the event.
For more information on the 2011 Scholars Luncheon or on establishing or contributing to scholarships at Queens, contact Anna Drake, Director of Donor Relations, at 704-337-2493 firstname.lastname@example.org.