As this school year comes to a close, most seniors are already looking forward. Future jobs, graduate school and freedom from homework are all possibilities to which Maryville College seniors can look forward, but one possibility some students overlook is giving back. It’s hard to imagine giving back to a school from which one just graduated, but that’s what senior Rebecca Glenn is already doing.
Glenn, a business management major and member of the equestrian team, has started one of the more unique forms of giving; she’s opened a life insurance policy with Maryville College as the beneficiary.
“Basically how it works is I make payments to the plan, and then eventually Maryville will receive the money,” Glenn said. “It’s a different way of giving.”
Glenn’s method of planned giving isn’t a new idea, though. Many people set up claims to give to Maryville. It’s just they’re usually older alumni. Her gift has brought attention from advancement because she’s a current student, already thinking about how she can give back to her alma mater.
“This story caught my eye because she’s still a student, and when I think about giving I think it’s for the future students’ benefit,” said Eric Bellah, Director of Development. “Usually when people graduate, we’re looking ahead at the vast promises we can achieve. She was still looking ahead, but she was looking back too.”
The idea of giving back is prominent through Maryville College with Homecoming’s visiting alumni , Tartan Tuesday and even the annual Scholarship Luncheon. But even with these events, it’s easy to forget what the gift of a scholarship really means.
Glenn’s sister, Sarah, is a current sophomore at Maryville College and member of the college’s Phonathon.
“While I’m not in the state to open a claim right now, I’ll definitely be doing it when I can,” she said.
Her idea of recognizing that giving can be done in the future is one that current students can adhere to as well.
“Through thinking of giving a gift or setting up a planned gift you’re asking ‘How can I make an impact— how can I say thanks to another donor that did the same for me?’” Bellah said.
Current students and recent graduates are not expected to give, but are kindly asked to consider it in the future.
“The relationship that current students have with the college is more like a business transaction; you’re paying for the service of an education, and having a scholarship means that you’re not even paying full price,” Sarah Glenn said.
However, the idea of giving is something more.
“By giving, I’m saying that I like what’s going on here,” Rebecca Glenn said. “I like the education I’ve gotten, and I want it to keep happening. I want to keep giving Maryville students the same opportunities I’ve gotten. It would be a shame to lose this place.”
It can be easy to forget what the gift of a scholarship can mean. Often for students, it’s merely keeping up the grades and accepting the award online each school year. But behind the screen, there was a real person making the conscious choice to give their money to the school to go towards a student’s education.
“I think we value things differently by knowing where it comes from,” Rebecca Glenn said. “I think it would actually be beneficial if everyone was in contact with their donor, because if students had a face to who’s paying for their education, college would be taken more seriously.”
Having a quality education benefits all those involved.
“When I’m older, I would love to come back to Maryville and see what my donations have done,” Sarah Glenn said. “And the students that go here after I leave, I might end up meeting them in the professional field, and I definitely want them to have received a quality education. Giving really opens the door to come back.”
Often, there can be an air of college student animosity. Being a full-time student can be hard, draining and seemingly unrewarding in the moment.
“I see people get hung up on the little things and grow in unhappiness, but looking back, your education is what makes you profitable and makes you able to give back later in life,” Rebecca said.
However, there’s a broader picture to a college education upon which students are encouraged to step back and look upon.
“This really is forward thinking while looking backward,” Bellah said. “When she set up this planned gift, she thought of the college as family, and future students are included in Rebecca’s family.”
And that’s what the Maryville College family is. It’s a place where alumni travel “Home to Howee” in the fall, it’s a place where donors are excited and proud to meet new students each year, and it’s a place where the act of giving is, and always will be, so much more than a transaction.