The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Hunt Scholars celebrate 10th year

Anniversary draws 138 to honor scholarship donors

The energy flowed through the Gallery of Cox Friday night as 138present and former Hunt Scholars gathered to celebrate the 10thanniversary of the scholarship.  Ray and Nancy Hunt, who in1993 donated $25 million dollars to endow the scholarship, were theguests of honor.

“Of all the things we’ve been privileged todo,” said Nancy Hunt, class of 1965, “this is truly theone that gives us the most joy.”

The Hunt Scholars are chosen for their leadership skills andcommunity service experience, and they receive scholarships thatamount to tuition and fees minus the tuition of their local stateuniversity.

Beyond the financial rewards, Hunt scholars also participate ina number of leadership-oriented programs and experiences, includingintimate dinners with world, business and artistic leaders plus theopportunity to network among former Hunts.

Sophomore Stephanie Gschwendtner was pleased with theopportunities being a Hunt Scholar provided her. “Coming in my first year, it was very cool to meet thepeople who are the leaders at the school,” she said. 

“We got to go meet President Turner and sit in his office. John Irving came as well, and we had dinner with him and wereable to meet him.  That’s definitely been one of thehighlights.”

Each year, 20 to 25 first- year students are chosen to be HuntScholars.  There are 210 Hunt Scholars in total, 80 of themare current undergraduates.  

The Anniversary Dinner allowed the present and former HuntScholars to interact in an intimately creative atmosphere. Seatedat tables of eight during the meal, and during the reception prior,the students and former students their experiences and ideas. 

This type of camaraderie is one of the biggest draws of the HuntScholars program, says Dr. Kathleen Hugley-Cook, assistant dean ofDedman College and directory of the Hunt Scholars program.

“The most beneficial thing for the students is being partof such a dynamic group.  They learn from each other,”she said.

Senior Andrew Aiken agreed  “There’s a greatsupport structure within this program that enables us to achieveour goals and ambitions.  We can use others to help us withour ideas.”

President R. Gerald Turner stressed that the Hunts often play abehind-the-scenes role at SMU.  “I can hardly think of acampus organization that doesn’t have a Hunt Scholarsomewhere in its leadership structure,” he said. “They provide an immense amount of leadership anddirection to those programs.”

When Ray Huntspeaks of the Hunt Scholars, he downplays the ideathat he and Nancy are responsible for the overwhelming success ofthe program.  “We were not the ones who made thisscholarship successful – the students, the graduate students,and the alumni are the reasons.  [Nancy and I] just facilitatethe program.”

For Hunt, the biggest dream isn’t just that hisscholarship program supports the current Hunt Scholars but that theprogram inspires others to create similar leadership opportunities. “I really hope that when we have the 20th anniversarydinner there will be more leadership scholarships programs, onlythey won’t all have the name Hunt in front ofthem.”

More to Discover