Seniors ‘pay it forward’
The announcement no sooner left Nancy Smith’s lips before being drowned out by the thunderous applause of over 500 attendees. As Senior Director of UVU’s Donor Relations and Scholarships, Smith was privileged to announce the grand total of $55,488 in scholarship donations over the past seven years by Elder Quest members.
“Without these scholarships, so many of today’s young people endowed with great potential would never reach that potential,” said 82-year-old Bill Walton, a former psychology professor at BYU who teaches classes about World War II heroes to other Elder Quest participants.
A self-supporting group operating under UVU’s Community and Continuing Education Department, Elder Quest provides member-driven educational opportunities to local seniors over age 55. On Tuesday, April 10, the several hundred members convened at the Provo Marriott Hotel & Conference Center to raise funds to add to the $45,000 endowment Elder Quest’s scholarship already possesses.
Although Elder Quest members are aware of how they may be perceived by the greater, younger UVU student population, they don’t let that impression impede their goal of remaining active and engaged in their community.
“People think Elder Quest is a bunch of nice, white-haired seniors who sit around watching Oprah!” said Editor of the Elder Quest Newsletter Fran Reiser.
On the contrary, Elder Quest makes a concentrated effort to remain engaged with the surrounding community and views its scholarship program as a viable way to do just that.
“We know the principle of ‘pay it forward,’” Resier said.
The annual spring seminar, titled “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece,” hosted popular composer Michael McLean and former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards as speakers.
The seminar also provided lunch while unabashedly encouraging attendees to give to the scholarship fund since all monetary donations will be matched during the month of April.
“We need your money. It will bless generations,” said Joan Hahn, chairperson of Elder Quest scholarships.
Speaker Brian Birch, an associate vice president of UVU academic affairs, touted Elder Quest’s commitment to “truly being a community-engaged institution,” pointing out that UVU is one of only 130 institutions across the nation to hold that title.
Hahn seconded Birch’s statement while adding an amendment of her own.
“An organization has to stand for something, and we stand for education.”