By Bridget Tharp ’06

Alumni Laureate Scholars Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary

By Bridget Tharp ’06

The students selected as Alumni Laureate Scholars become entrepreneurs, educators, health practitioners and more — but they don’t get there alone. Ask any graduate or current student of the program, and you’ll learn how the relationships built with Falcon alumni, BGSU staff and other students helped to shape their confidence and enhance their educational experience.

The Alumni Laureate Scholars program is celebrating an important milestone, as this year marks a decade since the distinctive, prestigious program was created and funded by a group of generous alumni involved in the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

This is more than a full-tuition scholarship. The program guides recipients with four years of support from caring mentors and alumni role models who challenge students to broaden their perspectives, network with alumni, make professional contacts and frame success through the values of leadership and service.

“We started with an idea: the Alumni Association Board wanted to help BGSU to recruit top students,” said Montique Cotton Kelly ’94, ’02, executive director of the Alumni Association, who advised the first five cohorts of the program. “Ten years later, I feel so proud of what all of our students have accomplished.”

Forget celebrating this anniversary with cake — one couple is marking the milestone with a pledge to expand the ALS program. Falcon Flames Paul ’75 and Margo ’74 Hooker of Sea Girt, N.J., committed $160,000 to the program. The Hooker family will initially support one student with full tuition for four years, and plans to expand their investment over time to support as many as four students.

“We just realize that it’s so important for people to have access to (scholarship) help, because college is a huge (investment) for both the parents and the student,” Margo said. “We’re thrilled to be in the position to be able to do this and give back to Bowling Green.”

Bob Filipucci ’08, of Fort Wayne, Ind., was among the first six Alumni Laureate Scholars. The program gave him the confidence and financial ability to become an entrepreneur fresh out of college. The full-tuition scholarship aspect of ALS turned Filipucci’s savings from college jobs and internships into seed money for his first venture, a residential management business. Now, he is about to open his third business with his second franchise restaurant, Firehouse Subs.

“Ten years later, I feel so proud of what all of our students have accomplished.”

Filipucci recalled that having the opportunity to say “thank you” to the first donors to the program was a highlight of his BGSU experience.

“Meeting donors and distinguished alumni was always fun,” Filipucci said. “We’d be thousands of miles away from Bowling Green, and they were excited to see us because we were the products of what they’d been donating to.”

Danielle Champney ’07, who graduated early with the first ALS cohort, recently joined the math faculty of California Polytechnic State University after earning her doctorate in math education from the University of California, Berkeley. She still values the relationships she built with mentors and peers through Alumni Laureates.

“It was just a unique kind of experience,” Champney said, “coming from where you don’t really know anybody, and instantly you have connections.”

As part of the second cohort of scholars, Jenna (Klamfoth) Miller ’08, of Bucyrus, Ohio, felt that the relationships she built with other students in the program provided an important support system. Miller stays busy working as a nurse practitioner for a family medical office, but still remains in touch with her cohort.

“It was just nice to have our own little group,” she said. “It helps a lot when you are having tough times, or during finals.”

Janna Carpenter ’07, part of the first cohort of the program, employs her visual communication technology major as an account representative for a printing company in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Carpenter didn’t realize it at the time, but greeting donors and introducing alumni to the new ALS program helped her and her peers to establish the interpersonal skills they’d need later in the business world.   

“Thank you to everyone for donating,” Carpenter said. The program “thrust me into so many opportunities to meet people and to grow as an individual. It’s just so much more than a scholarship. It’s a new life, really.”

Updated: 12/01/2017 11:59PM