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CSU retirees establish scholarship for graduate students

The Clayton State University Retirees Association (CSRA) raised $25,000, and will use the money to establish a fully-endowed graduate student scholarship at the university, said John Shiffert, director of university relations.

"The idea for establishing an endowed scholarship originated with retirees, Robert Koermer and Don Phillips, in 2005, prior to Clayton State rolling out its first graduate program, the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies," said Shiffert.

"Don and I agreed to propose establishing a scholarship fund, which would award scholarships to graduate students," said Robert Koermer. "At that time, there were no scholarships for graduate students."

He said he and Phillips met with representatives from the university's Office of Development to devise a fund-raising plan, and the CSRA Executive Council voted to establish the Clayton State Retirees Scholarship Fund in October 2006.

Shiffert said the goal behind the scholarship was for the retirees to build a bridge connecting their past with the future of the university. He said the retirees believed this would make a difference to future generations of students.

"The scholarship gives retirees an opportunity to demonstrate their continued support of the university, and to be actively engaged in continuing a legacy of excellence established through many years of service to Clayton State," Shiffert said.

"From the beginning, members of the CSRA were undaunted in their determination to create an endowment, and to award scholarships along the way," said CSU Director of Development Reda Rowell. "So many individuals worked diligently to design a scholarship award and to raise the necessary funds."

She added that by making personal financial contributions, and coming up with creative fund-raising ideas, their persistence paid off in the form of achieving their $25,000 initial goal.

"It should be noted that the CSRA could not have reached its goal in five years without the support, encouragement, and assistance provided by the staff in the Office of Development," said Shiffert.