Academic scholarships help attract the best and brightest to Christopher Newport University. Established by the Alumni Society, the new Alumni Achievement Endowment will support academically distinguished students who have overcome unusual adversity, as well as those from underrepresented groups that enrich CNU’s campus diversity.
Brad Hunter (’04) played a key role in establishing the endowment. “I volunteered to be the front-runner, but there were a lot of us involved,” he says. Hunter majored in accounting at CNU with a minor in leadership studies. An assistant vice president for commercial lending with TowneBank, he earned his MBA with a finance concentration from Syracuse University.
Many graduates from Hunter’s college days attend Homecoming regularly but were seeking ways to become more involved with their alma mater. “Once I got on the Alumni Society Board and started talking with other graduates, one of the things that resonated with us was the experience we had being a part of the Multicultural Student Association,” Hunter says. “It had a big impression on us and our college careers. Many of us are still friends and connected even though we’re spread out across the country.” They in turn want to help other students have that same positive experience.
The endowment’s launch took place two years ago. Then, after Hunter was appointed to CNU’s Board of Visitors (BOV) this fall, he shared with fellow members about the scholarship initiative and the University’s progress toward reaching full endowment, or $50,000. This caught the attention of BOV Rector Preston White.
Hunter notes, “Preston issued a challenge on the spot that if we could raise $25,000 in cash by Homecoming 2014, he would match us dollar for dollar. This would make the endowment fully funded, allowing us to begin awarding the scholarship.”
By Homecoming just two months later the University had reached the $25,000 goal, making the cash match possible. Hunter fondly remembers sharing the news with White: “It was a phone call I was excited to make, and one he was excited to receive. I’m glad we have people like Preston and Catharine White who believe in the University, this initiative and what it can bring to CNU.”
The University will award the endowment’s first scholarship in spring semester 2015.