Scholars, Donors Celebrate Endowed Scholarship Support at Arcadia

By McLaughlinE | March 26, 2020

Aliyah Pulley stands at the podium in the Laura Minerva Korman Mirror Room

Aliyah Pulley ’23, an aspiring teacher, captivated the crowd on Thursday, March 5, when she shared her personal story of adversity, perseverance, triumph, and gratitude with scholarship supporters, fellow students, and University leadership during Arcadia’s Celebration of Scholarship event, held in the Laura Minerva Korman Mirror Room in Grey Towers Castle.

“I can honestly say that without the scholarships gifted to me, I wouldn’t be here today,” Pulley, a recipient of the Child Care of Montgomery County, Inc. Endowed Scholarship, said. “I grew up in a household where life wasn’t easy. I lived with my grandmother and disabled mother, where money and work weren’t always available.”

Pulley, who attended with her grandmother, Francine Pulley, explained how the road to Arcadia seemed impossible at times due to the additional financial challenges posed by higher education costs. But with scholarship support from generous donors and encouragement from the Arcadia community, she’s overcoming adversity to take on every opportunity that comes her way.

“I would like to say thank you, donors, for everything you have done to make students like me have dreams of completing the impossible,” Pulley said. “You are greatly appreciated by everyone here for being the hero for someone’s future story.”

Like Pulley, Annabelle Rogers ’21 also receives endowed scholarship support. The double major in Math and Honors, who is also pursuing a double minor in Music and Secondary Education, received the Cyril Edward Lawless and Virginia H. Lawless Annual Math and Science Scholarship. Additionally, as the 2019-20 recipient of the Ellen Jane Hover ’74 Endowed Memorial Award for Piano Study, Rogers performed at the event. This scholarship award was established by Anita Feinberg ’74 and her husband, Sandy Feinberg, to celebrate the life and legacy of Beaver College alumna and talented pianist, Ellen Jane Hover ’74

Pulley and Rogers are just two of the many students at Arcadia who benefit from donor generosity. Over 99 percent of the University’s undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid. While donor support covers only part of their tuition, gifts have helped Arcadia grow its portfolio of scholarships to include more than 80 endowed scholarship funds since the establishment of its first endowed scholarship in 1970. As of the end of the 2019 fiscal year, private scholarship contributions made up $9.1 million of the University’s endowment, generating approximately $365,000 a year to support students. 

That number continues to rise, in part, due to philanthropy and the kindness of Arcadia’s donors. 

“At Arcadia, our students dream big, and so do we,” Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Brigette A. Bryant said. “It is our dream that we can provide a world-class education to every talented student interested in Arcadia—regardless of their financial circumstances.”

One group of visionary supporters is helping to make that dream come true by ushering in a new era of scholarship support at Arcadia. Board of Trustees Chair Alison Aaron Madsen ’85, Susan C. Saxer ’71, who was in attendance at the event, Joan Nadler Brantz ’65, Holly Ludwig Pfeifer ’66, Christy Ann Pierce ’71, and Kevin Shollenberger ’88 are the first six philanthropists to take advantage of the Arcadia Financial Aid Initiative (AFAI). Launched in October 2019, the AFAI is a program through which the University provides a 1:1 match for donors who establish a new endowed scholarship or supplement an existing endowed scholarship with a commitment of $50,000 or more designated for students with demonstrated financial need.   

“From the bottom of our collective Arcadia hearts, I want to thank you,” said Bryant to the AFAI supporters. “What you are doing matters more than you know.”

President Ajay Nair amplified Bryant’s message before introducing Pulley to share her story.

“What makes tonight so special is our shared belief in our students,” he said. “We believe in their goals and aspirations, in their dedication and determination, in their desire to make this world a better place. We are helping students realize their dreams, and what better place than Arcadia for students to pursue their dreams?”

To learn more about AFAI and how you can play a role in the University’s efforts to increase support for students, contact the Office of University Advancement.

View Photos From the Event