One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Heidie Raine ’23

Academic. Need-based. Memorial. Community Service. Legacy. Military. Athletic. These scholarships and more make an education at Cedarville University possible for all of its undergraduate students — 100% of whom receive financial aid. 

Behind each scholarship is a donor — an alumnus, parent, grandparent, or friend — with a story. Some seek to honor a loved one. Some long to see specific academic programs flourish. Some want to give back to the institution that shaped them, their children, or their grandchildren. But one commonality between all of Cedarville’s donors is the desire to support the University’s students and mission. 

“All of our donors have a heart of generosity,” Nancy Holmes Voorhies, Senior Regional Director of Development, said. “They want to help other people afford to come to Cedarville.”

And that generosity shines through in each donor’s explanation of why they give. 

Love for Cedarville

Charlotte Kuriger posthumously established the Roger and Charlotte Kuriger Scholarship Fund — Cedarville’s largest estate gift to date — in 2019 on behalf of herself and her husband after a lifetime of faithful but modest giving to the University. 

Charlotte and Roger Kuriger divided their $3.1 million estate gift into two endowed scholarships: 75% to the Master of Science in Nursing program and 25% to the Bachelor of Science in accounting program. 

The Kurigers came to know and love Cedarville through Roger’s sister, Marie, and her husband, Dale Murphy, who served on the Board of Trustees for 47 years. Shortly after her husband’s death, Kuriger developed a friendship with Voorhies. Through that friendship, Kuriger’s knowledge of and affection for Cedarville’s biblical education grew, inspiring her to bequest the couple's estate to the University. 

“The nursing scholarship principal alone awards around $150,000 a year,” Voorhies said. “The Graduate School of Nursing program has been transformed by that scholarship.”

Passion for Ministry

Another scholarship transforming Cedarville students’ lives is the John Lutsi B.A./M.Div. Pastoral Ministry Scholarship. Lutsi established the scholarship in 2019 to assist undergraduate and graduate students on the pastoral ministry track; 18 students received this scholarship in the 2021–22 school year.

Lutsi learned about Cedarville through his granddaughter, Sophia Smith ’21; grew to love it with his wife, Ella; and felt moved to contribute to the University following Ella’s passing in 2020.

“Mr. Lutsi is passionate about youth garnering theological training to contribute as lay people at local churches,” Kate Cooper, Scholarship and Annual Giving Manager, said. “He’s thankful to Cedarville for building up his granddaughter’s faith, and his scholarship allows other students to be built up in the same way.” 

Supporting MKs

The Gershom Scholarship is named for Moses’ son from Exodus 2:22, whose name means “I have been a stranger in a foreign land,” and is designated to assist children of full-time missionary families, particularly missionary kids from the Middle East, where the donors' family lived for a time as “strangers in a foreign land.”

The Gershom Scholarship began in 2006 when a couple sent the first of three children — all Cedarville graduates — to the University. At the time, the husband’s company offered a three-to-one match for financial gifts to educational institutions. They began giving $7,500 to Cedarville each year, which multiplied to $30,000 with company matching. 

Their eldest son, a 2010 alumnus, began working at the same company as his father after graduation, and he has continued to take advantage of the company’s matching policy with regular gifts. The Gershom Scholarship’s market value is nearing $1 million. It is the single largest endowment fund to which current gifts are being made. 

“When the family lived overseas, they met missionaries there, and they wanted missionary kids to be able to come to Cedarville,” Voorhies shared. “They knew as full-time missionaries, those parents couldn’t afford to send their kids as this couple could, so they wanted to do what they could to help,” Voorhies explained. “It’s obvious that they are faithfully following what the Lord has put on their hearts.”

“It’s beautiful to see people who want to give,” Cooper added. “There’s this thought that people don’t want to contribute to a cause, but our donors want to give to our students — to make Cedarville a possibility for them — and it’s truly what the Lord is doing. He’s moving in donors’ lives, and we get to be conduits in that.”

Continuing A Legacy 

Julie Deardorff, Director of Library Collection Services and Associate Professor of Library Science, serves as another example of such generosity as she honors the memory of her husband, beloved University professor Don Deardorff. Establishing the Don and Julie Deardorff English Scholarship following her husband's passing in October 2021, Deardorff hopes to honor their shared passion for humanities education.  

“After Don died so unexpectedly, my sister asked me where I’d want donations to go,” Deardorff explained. “It's important to me that he can continue to have an impact on English and language arts education majors at Cedarville.”

The Deardorffs both studied English in their undergraduate programs, and they were blessed with scholarships that let them graduate debt-free.  

“It gave us a great sense of financial freedom, allowed us to marry two weeks after I graduated, start graduate school shortly after, and ultimately find our way to Cedarville,” she said. 

The couple worked together at Cedarville for 25 years, during which they jointly invested in students and helped them navigate financial challenges.

“We felt torn,” she explained. “How do you advise a student to come back when they’re in such a difficult financial situation? This scholarship is our way of helping solve that problem by doing one final thing together.”

“Compared to having a personal impact on students’ lives, this scholarship looks like a small thing, but since that’s not possible anymore, it becomes a big thing,” Deardorff shared. “Don can still help students succeed and make it possible for them to major in English, which has so much value.” 

Rachel Rathbun ’23 is the first recipient of the scholarship. 

Burdened by the Need

Last year, an anonymous donor funded and established the God Provides Scholarship because they “just wanted to bless students who are hurting financially and wanted them to know that God provides for their needs,” Voorhies shared.

Moved by this $100,000 gift, another donor wanted to contribute, increasing the fund to $138,000. This year, 37 students were blessed by the God Provides Scholarship. 

“Many students send thank-you notes through the financial aid office, and their stories are very emotional,” Cooper said. “We have students with sick family members, students who are in graduate studies and simultaneously supporting families, students affected by COVID, students losing jobs, and this scholarship is helping them complete their Cedarville education. It’s a beautiful picture.”

Generosity and Gospel Community

Each of these scholarships does exactly that — paints a beautiful picture of generosity and Gospel community.

 “These donors believe in Cedarville, and with hearts of generosity, they desire to see as many students afford a Cedarville education as possible,” Voorhies added.

Heidie Raine ’23 is an English major at Cedarville University.

 

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