Susan Weaver Godshall, Dr. Richard Stoltzfus and Julia Hartzler Alleman, initiators of the Jubilee Alumni Association's new endowed scholarship, with Jeff Shank (left), director of alumni and parent engagement, and Jasmine Hardesty, director of development and planned giving. (Photo by Macson McGuigan)

Jubilee Alumni Association’s new endowed scholarship to expand student opportunity

In honor of the lifelong influence of their alma mater, the Jubilee Alumni Association Committee has established an endowed scholarship fund to support high-achieving students who otherwise may not be able to attend Eastern Mennonite University.

With $25,000 in seed funds and a goal of $1 million, the scholarship will be awarded for the first time in fall 2020.

The new endowment was announced at the association’s annual luncheon during Homecoming and Family Weekend. Jubilee membership is for those alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago. The annual luncheon also includes an induction ceremony for those who have gathered for their 50-year reunion. The Jubilee Alumni Association includes 3,000 members.

The endowed scholarship is an initiative of Jubilee members and officers Dr. Richard G. Stoltzfus ’59, association president; Susan Weaver Godshall ’65, vice president and president-elect, and Julia Hartzler Alleman ’65, archivist. 

“For many students now, finances are a big concern,” Stolzfus said. “Some cannot attend because of financial hardship and others graduate with large amounts of debt. This new endowed scholarship is a worthy effort and a real investment in the future that will grow in perpetuity. I would invite all of you to consider this as a way you can help.”

An urgent need

A third of EMU’s $33 million endowment is designated for undergraduate student scholarships. However, that allotment is not as significant as it sounds, said Jasmine Hardesty, director of development and planned giving. 

“Each year, EMU loses high-achieving, deserving students to other institutions because we cannot offer competitive financial aid packages,” Hardesty said. 

Two factors would help EMU attract more students: 1) more scholarships like the Jubilee Alumni Association’s new fund, and 2) a more robust university endowment.

Though in recent years, that $33 million endowment has grown significantly, the financial model came to EMU quite late in its history. 

“EMU is drastically underfunded, considering the university’s age and size, in relation to peer institutions,”said Hardesty. “In fact, to financially compete with peer institutions to provide competitive student scholarships, sustain facilities and recruit professors and coaches, EMU should have at least an endowment in the range of $90 to 120 million.” 

The endowment is an invested fund that through its earnings provides recurring annual income to the university. The income an endowment produces ensures institutional viability and long-term financial sustainability

“In order for EMU to fully thrive or lead in its second century, it is urgent to grow funds that are available to students through endowed scholarships such as the Jubilee Alumni Endowed Scholarship,” Hardesty said.

A tax-wise contribution to the endowed scholarship can benefit the donor, their estate or heirs, she added. Donations can take many forms, including a gift from an IRA, stock or a portion of real estate or business sale; naming the scholarship in the donor’s estate through a will or trust, or as a beneficiary on banking, financial or retirement accounts. 

How does an endowment work? 

Once a contribution is made, the funds are conservatively invested based on guidelines provided by the Mennonite Education Agency. The investment will ideally produce at least a 6% return and 5% of the funds are distributed as student scholarship awards. The remaining value is reinvested in order to grow the principal value of the endowment, which helps to sustain and increase the scholarship award annually. 

Eventually, when this scholarship reaches the ultimate funding goal of $1 million dollars, it will produce annually at least $50,000 to be awarded to students who may not be able to attend EMU without these funds.

This investment structure allows the endowment fund to grow and make distributions in perpetuity, providing a legacy and gift to students that will impact current and future generations.

For more information, call Jasmine Hardesty at 540-432-4971 or email her at