The Gift of Scholarship
Student scholarships are one of the many ways in which Truett Seminary’s vision and mission come to life and become tangible. The gift of student scholarships is anchored in a common commitment to Christ and deeply benefits Truett students, easing and enhancing their seminary experience.
The magnitude of these gifts is felt in especially profound ways among one special group of endowed scholarship recipients. In a true giver’s spirit, the donor asked to focus on the students and the rewards of giving, rather than her name. Her focus, as always, has been on her student recipients, and we share this group’s story below to encourage others to pray and give to support these students, which include recent graduate Julianna Marraccino and second-year student Kendall Ellis.
“Realistically, I wouldn’t be able to do any graduate school without the scholarship, especially going into fields like social work or ministry,” Ellis said. “Even if I realized that the fit and the calling was there, if the financial piece wasn’t there through this scholarship, it wouldn’t happen.”
This sentiment was echoed by Marraccino.
“The scholarship played a very significant role in my coming to Truett. The calling was obviously the most significant — God saying, ‘This is what you’re supposed to do’ — but having the financial piece of it through the scholarship played a huge role in being able to answer that calling. It made a big, big difference.”
Scholarships awarded to Truett students work to ease the stress of affording a seminary education as well as the financial reality of the future ministerial vocations that many Truett students will pursue after graduation. These scholarships provide one more layer of support and validation to students who feel called to ministry while they are being equipped with the tools and education to answer that calling.
“One thing Truett has done for me has been to push and challenge me to think deeper about not just what I’m doing, but why I’m doing it and why the ‘why’ matters. Truett has given me a better theological understanding of pastoral care and practical theology,” Ellis said.
For many Truett students, the support provided by scholarships goes beyond tuition relief. Letters from scholarship recipients to scholarship donors provide a link that can reveal students’ callings, struggles, and triumphs. For many sponsors, like this scholarship’s anonymous giver, these students become a focus for daily prayers and petitions on their behalf.
“Just the thought of knowing that somebody who didn’t know who I was at the time was willing to support me and to care for me — not only financially, but also through prayer — it was just huge. You can’t get through this type of program without support,” Marraccino said. “It’s really hard to do it on your own, and to know that there was help and care from others made a huge difference. I got the opportunity to connect with my scholarship sponsor, and she’s just been so engaged, sending messages that are always saying, ‘I’m praying for you. I’m thinking of you. You can do this.’”
Student scholarships help equip the hands and feet of the gospel to move in the world, and they also provide an opportunity for individuals to come alongside students as they go through their seminary journey, enhancing their experience even further. While these financial gifts significantly help to enable Truett to prepare students for their ministry careers, their impact does not stop there. They also help to build up and create community around students, letting them know that they are supported, cared for, and prayed over.
“It’s something I have valued a lot about her, the relationship aspect. We are people that she is actively pouring into, and it’s definitely enriched my time at Truett to know that I not only have my professors surrounding me, mentally and academically, but I have people like my scholarship sponsor, who have cared about my personhood and my formation and my wellbeing,” Ellis said.
These kinds of loving, generous gifts help enable seminary students like Ellis and Marraccino to look forward and chart a path for how they can best use their gifts in ministry post-graduation. They will leave their time in seminary not only well-equipped for the Kingdom work they have been called to, but also less financially burdened and more spiritually and mentally encouraged because of the care and generosity of people like their scholarship sponsor.