Arkansas State University - Newport

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December 2019

ASUN History...the gift that keeps on giving

As we enter this season of giving, one of the dearest projects to many individuals at ASU-Newport is the Student Success Fund (formerly the Student Emergency Fund). Those of us who work every day with college students, and realize many exist on a very limited income, know that something as simple as requiring a new set of tires, an unexpectedly large electric bill, or some other unplanned expense can completely derail a student’s fragile financial plan. When this happens, a surprising number of students become discouraged and drop out of college. When polled, students listed unexpected expense as one of the most significant reasons for their withdrawal from school. At ASU-Newport, as with many community colleges throughout the state and nation, we are very familiar with the struggling student who seems just one step away from financial peril. Early in our institutional history, we wished to do something to address this need. 

In 2002, ASUN created the Student Emergency Fund (now the Student Success Fund) to assist with such unplanned dilemmas. It has grown to become a major philanthropic opportunity for ASUN. The premise is simple; a student in financial trouble has this fund as an outlet to address a one-time temporary fix, without which they would have been rendered unable to continue in school. 

Over the years, the Student Emergency Fund has grown significantly from the $3,500 seed money contribution given by the Newport Newcomer’s Club. Generous contributions from many individuals as well as substantial donors such as Doyle and Raye Rogers, Mark Grosvenor and others along with grants from businesses such as Entergy and Farm Bureau have continued to grow this vital fund for our students. As a result of the capital campaign of 2008, an endowment of the Student Emergency Fund was established to keep this reserve solvent in perpetuity. 

During these fluctuating economic times, and as enrollment and campus reach have increased, requests have understandably increased as well.  In addition, the funds have been made available to our students on the Marked Tree and Jonesboro campuses. Undoubtedly, many of these students would have dropped out of college had they not been assisted through the efforts of the Student Success Fund.  What a magnificent testament to the generosity and foresight of our faculty, staff, student and community members to enable such a worthy project. Ms. Veronica Manning, Dean of Student Development, administers this program today. 

Since its inception, numerous individuals have supported this endeavor. For many, it has replaced the Christmas tradition of exchanging gifts and served as a means of honoring or memorializing loved ones. Thus far in 2019 alone, 33 individuals have been assisted through the Student Success Fund. In the truest spirit of giving, there is no greater gift than assisting a student in need to remain on an educational path which may lead to them creating a better life for themselves, their families and their community.

This look back is brought to you by Ike Wheeler, ASUN’s Vice Chancellor for Leadership and Community Engagement.