Opening Doors to Learning Blended Gift
Betty Thompson Messenger '47 and John Cowan Messenger Jr. '42
John, a physical training officer in the Army Medical Corps, visited his alma mater in 1945 while on leave. We met. He returned for track and football and completing course work, and I graduated in 1947. A Beta-Delta Gamma wedding followed. Building on John's B.S. in geology and my B.A. in psychology, we became cultural anthropologists, John's Ph.D. awarded by Northwestern, mine by Indiana.
Together we conducted ethnographic research that frequently took us out of the country—to Nigeria, Ireland (pictured), the Caribbean and New Zealand; our studying and teaching took place mostly at six large major universities in the Midwest and Northern Ireland, but Lawrence was where we returned for reunions. And, although options for giving were numerous, after we chose to focus on education, Lawrence became the primary beneficiary of that decision; we believed a small university would benefit the most.
To supplement our charitable gift annuity and annual donations to the Lawrence Fund, the college crafted for us a scholarship fund agreement, with preference to be given to recipients from West Africa. That reflects our deep interest in human and cultural diversity and it ties with one research area.
I asked to make a gift that would mesh with the goals of Lawrence president Mark Burstein. An endowed fund for athletics in memory of John both does this and is a reminder of an important influence on John's life.
He loved Lawrence; I still do and our gifts are meant to enable students to experience fully the "Lawrence Difference," clarified beautifully by Rik Warch, our late former president, in A Matter of Style.
Maria Poimenidou, 2020
"I am currently a senior double majoring in biochemistry and economics and minoring in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. I cannot express enough how much I appreciate the Theodore Diamandopoulos Memorial Scholarship, without it, my Lawrence experience would not be possible. I have enjoyed being a mentor in the CORE freshman mentorship program, playing and working for the Women's Basketball team, competing in Model United Nations, interning as a lab assistant at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, hosting a pilot STEM program for young unaccompanied refugees in Greece, and volunteering through KidsGive during a field trip to Sierra Leone. Thank you so much for supporting me in doing the things I dream to do."