Linda Dolny Lister, the keynote speaker at Lander University’s 36th Annual Eleanor Shiflet Teal Donor Appreciation and Scholarship Dinner, is one of Lander’s most distinguished alumna, with a long list of accomplishments, but she shared a story about something that “shamed” her.
For almost 20 years after she graduated, Lister, chair of Lander’s Board of Trustees, “had never given a penny to this school. I had never given anything of my time to this school. That’s a shame,” she said.
She encouraged the dinner guests to “not let that happen to you. I don’t care if you only have a dime to give, give a dime. I don’t care if you only have ten minutes to spend, spend those ten minutes with people you care about, and give back.”
Lister, who established her first Lander scholarship in 1986, and who recently established a Presidential Medallion Scholarship at Lander, urged those present to “pay it forward, to help others reach a higher level than they could have reached without the help.”
Three scholarship recipients also spoke. Tatenda Makuvatsine, of Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe, said that the Mufuka Family Scholarship that he received “gave me the opportunity to fly as high as my wings would take me.” He thanked the Mufuka family, several members of whom were present, for “caring for me in a way I could never have imagined.”
Erin Currier, of Sumter, said that the Wohlwend Family Scholarship that she received allowed her to cancel one of her student loans. “To say ‘thank you’ is not enough. That is a huge blessing to me.”
Lander golf team member Matthew Griego, of Loris, said that the John Wesley Martin Golf Scholarship that he received “lifted a huge financial burden off my shoulders, and for that I’m forever grateful. That’s a debt I can truly not repay.”
Dr. Scott Jones, Lander provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said that the support of donors “ensures our students have access to a high-quality education at Lander, and that they can graduate without overwhelming debt. We thank you for your friendship, your generosity and your commitment.”