|Scholarships: More Than Just a Dollar Sign|
|The School of Business awards 30 endowed scholarships to students each year.|
Adjusting to college life four years ago challenged Mike Shipman.
He arrived from Williamsport, Pa., as a “timid 18-year-old,” unsure of his plans. Today, he looks forward to a summer internship after graduation, then a choice about graduate school. Looking back, Shipman ’11 is candid about his first year.
“Life was not easy at first,” he said. “Meeting new friends and finding my place on campus was difficult.” To be closer to home and his friends, he considered transferring to Penn State.
“But I hung in there. Ithaca College gave me a chance in giving me a scholarship, so I decided to give the school a chance, and I was rewarded for doing so.”
Shipman received a PricewaterhouseCoopers Employee Scholarship, funded by gifts of Ithaca graduates who work at PwC, matched by the firm. He’d been offered scholarships by other colleges. A scholarship made Ithaca as affordable as his other options, he said.
At Ithaca, “I made great new friends and had experiences I would not trade for anything in the world,” said Shipman, an accounting major with a minor in legal studies.
“Now, as a senior, I can say I am no longer timid. Instead of feeling nervous about walking into a professor's office on the third or fourth floor of the Business School, I feel confident. Instead of feeling timid in meeting new people, I look forward to it.”
Three Ithaca accounting graduates – Tom Baker ’65, Jim Dewey ’66 and Larry Alleva ’71, who later became partners at PwC – set up this scholarship some 25 years ago. Says Alleva, it is the largest alumni/employee scholarship endowment at Ithaca College and has benefited more than 70 accounting majors. Some recipients later joined PwC and contributed to the fund.
Shipman’s summer internship will be in New York City with PwC. Then he will choose between graduate school in Pittsburgh or at Ithaca.
“Without the scholarship offer to give me this opportunity, I may not have grown, matured, and put myself in this situation to succeed,” he said.
In deciding to choose Ithaca, Shipman also weighed the construction of a new building, the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise.
“The fact that Ithaca College was building a new location for business students alone proved to me that they were passionate about improving the program, and in my four years here, this institution has not disappointed, for it has come a long way,” he said.
Opportunities for campus and community service enhanced his education. He joined Beta Alpha Psi, the national accounting honor society, and is now chapter treasurer. He also serves as a peer tutor for accounting classes. These experiences taught him about the business world and networking and helped build his resume.
He also embraced the college’s emphasis on community service. Off campus, he participated in Colleges Against Cancer and the Relay for Life. “I took advantage of such opportunities to give back and become involved with my community, and have found it a beneficial experience,’’ he said.
And when it came time this year to plan for his steps after graduation, his adviser – accounting professor Patricia Libby – and the school staff provided invaluable guidance. He will pursue his master’s degree in accountancy next year, or an MBA in professional accountancy if he stays in Ithaca.
“They made sure to guide me and point me in the right direction as far as figuring out my future was concerned. And I must give them all a great vote of thanks,” said Shipman. “Without them, I would not have a job after graduation, or a place to continue my studies in order to earn my CPA license. Personal interaction with faculty and staff is just one more opportunity Ithaca College has offered me.”
Interaction with scholarship recipients also gladdens the donors.
“Annually, I am always touched by the very nice notes of thanks received from the recipients,” said Alleva, who just retired as U.S. Leader - Ethics and Compliance (Assurance) after 39 years at PwC. Vice chair of the IC Board of Trustees, he’s been a board member for nearly 20 years and chaired the college’s Comprehensive Campaign, which raised $145 million, including the money for the Park Center.
“Throughout all of my efforts, I find most rewarding those instances when IC graduates – and at times parents of the graduates – willingly step forward to donate money to help the school they love,” he said. “Clearly, it is this type of loyalty and commitment that allows Ithaca College to remain strong and affordable and, through efforts like the scholarship, enables deserving students to receive a college education.”
Ithaca the city appealed to Shipman because it’s the same size as his hometown, Williamsport. In his years here, he’s overcome any fear of a large city.
“Ithaca College has changed my outlook on education and career aspirations by making me comfortable with stepping outside of my ‘comfort zone,’ ” he said.
With a scholarship-funded education, he will graduate a much more self-confident person: “My education here has adequately prepared me for the rest of my life and made me realize that I can succeed in any education or career environment I enter into.”