In 2019, the Benzie Spartans are
honored to award scholarships on behalf of all Benzie Endowment donors. This year
we were able to provide financial assistance to five local students headed to MSU.
See our list
of scholarship recipients and amounts awarded.
In addition to these scholarship recipients, the Benzie Spartans congratulate William
Newbold, a graduate of Frankfort-Elberta High School, who was awarded a full scholarship
for four years as an Evans Scholar at MSU.
The Scholarship Program
The Club’s Scholarship Program
was inaugurated in 2000 and is the prime focus of the Club’s charitable fund raising
efforts. Through 2020, scholarship awards have totaled $77,450.
Funds for the scholarships arise from donations to the Club by members and friends
of MSU, funds raised at social events, direct donations, and planned giving are deposited
in the Club’s Scholarship Endowment Fund Account (#AF010979) administered by Michigan
State University. It is the intent of the Club that the proceeds from events and
donations to the Club that are not needed for necessary administrative expenses will
be directed to this Fund.
The Scholarship Endowment Fund was inaugurated in 2013 to assure adequate long-term
funding for scholarships (see Scholarship Endowment Fund). Early donor support to this Fund
has exceeded expectations. By the middle of 2019, total contributions to this Fund
stood at almost $125,000. Current yield distributions from this Fund enable the Club
to award, for example, three $1,500.00 scholarships annually. Donations to the Fund
are tax-deductible under IRS provision 501c(3).
Club scholarships are named to honor three distinguished local Alumni members for
their service to the Club and the University: the late Len Blewett, one of
the original founders of the Club; the late Terry M. Herban, an early founder
and sustainer who was instrumental in building the Endowment Fund; and the late Donald
W. Nugent, a Club member who served on the MSU Board of Trustees for sixteen
years and who was also instrumental in building the Endowment Fund.
The current goal of the Club is
to provide annually at least three $1,500 scholarships to students who have attended
Frankfort-Elberta and Benzie Central High Schools. In any given year, the amount
of each award will vary according to the number of applicants and available funds
based on interest earned on the endowment. As the Endowment Fund grows, along with
the return on investment, the number of scholarships offered and/or the amount of
each scholarship will be expanded.
Michigan State University’s Office
of Admissions and Scholarships, in consultation with the Club Board of Directors,
selects the students who will be offered scholarships. The Endowment Fund Agreement
between the Club and Michigan State University establishes the following three-stage
criteria for making awards:
“The scholarship is intended
for students from Benzie County. First preference will be given to incoming freshmen
who attended Benzie County high schools. If there are no incoming freshmen,
the preference will be given to all students who transfer to MSU from another
college or university, and if there are no transfer students, scholarships may be
given to students currently enrolled at MSU. The scholarship awards may be renewable
until graduation as long as the students remain in good academic standing.” [Endowment
Fund Agreement, paragraph 4a].
Students should apply for admission
to Michigan State University. Once students have been accepted, MSU’s Office of Admissions
and Scholarships will notify the Benzie Spartan Board of qualifying students and
the Board will send a letter to those students requesting additional information.
Once deposits have been paid by the students to MSU, the Board, in conjunction with
the Office of Admissions and Scholarships will review all admitted applicants for
financial aid make the selection of scholarship recipients using the above Endowment
Agreement selection criteria.
Students who have questions about attending MSU should feel free to contact Board
Members for additional information. Board members can either answer questions or
put students in touch with people who can.