Unknown donor gives $800,000 scholarship to Rural American


By Rebekah Frank

In April 2013, EWU senior Daisy Dice received an award letter from the Rural American Scholarship fund that would help her in accomplishing her dream.

Originally from Priest River, Idaho, Dice grew up knowing if she wanted to get a degree and a good job she would have to leave her rural town. After she graduated from high school, she tried to attend Moody Bible Institute while working two jobs, but the workload was too much.

Dice dropped out of school in her first year, got married in 2002 and had two daughters by 2007. Now, after receiving the Rural American Scholarship twice, she is set to graduate from EWU with her master’s in occupational therapy in June.

EWU college advancement director, Mary Ann Murphy, and EWU manager of women’s study center, Carol Vines, coordinated an event on the Rural American Scholarship on Jan. 30. The presentation is to help students correctly and completely fill out the application for the scholarship.

The Rural American Scholarship is for students who missed the chance to attend college after completing high school, which includes two-year colleges. Students must be 23 years of age, have an AA degree, currently reside in or hail from a rural community in the United States, be legal residents of the state in which they attend college and are enrolled in the university full time.

The Rural American Scholarship donor is unknown. “We have never met the donor,” said Murphy. Over the last 20 years this anonymous donor has given around $800,000 in scholarships.

According to Murphy, the applicants for this scholarship do not have to worry about the odds of being selected. “They aren’t competing against each other, … there is no limit on how many students they would give to.”

However, this application does require a little extra work, such as a handwritten autobiography, and an interview. According to Murphy the donor sends David Thomas as a representative and he does the interviews to decide who will receive the scholarship.

“The primary thing he is looking for is a self assured person who has direction and purpose,” said Murphy.

According to Murphy, around 40 percent of the applicants have been turned down over the years due to incomplete applications.

According to Vines, applicants should treat the interview as a job interview and dress professionally. It is also important that the applicant look professional in the photo that is to be attached to the application.

Not only do applicants get the chance to receive funding for their schooling, but they also get extra practice for applying for jobs as well.

“This is also a really good experience because it involves both an application and an interview,” said Murphy.

The scholarship application must be mailed no later than March 1, and Murphy is willing to help any applicant who would like help proofreading, editing and taking their picture. Students interested in this scholarship can contact Murphy directly or attend the second presentation on Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. in Monroe Hall room 207.

“It is a wonderful opportunity,” said Murphy. “We would really like to get as many applicants as possible.”

“Just be yourself. If you are honest, hardworking and dedicated, you should be fine,” Dice advised.