Most students don’t start giving back to their alma mater immediately following graduation. But Abby Hart (IE/Math 12) of Sidney, MT, isn’t like most students. Right after starting her first job, she started supporting scholarships at South Dakota Mines. Now, ten years later, she decided to move from an annual scholarship gift to an endowed scholarship fund.
“It’s a choice that depends on your personal situation and financial state, but I think when most people reflect on their time at Mines– the highlights and all the great things they gained from being a student here – they will realize the value of giving back,” she said.
Abby, a material flow engineer with John Deere in Horicon, WI, has many great memories of friends and a lot of gratitude for her professors, but one thing she’ll never forget is how helpful it was to receive many scholarships.
“Those kinds of things I remember and am very grateful for,” she said. “That’s why when I left school, I thought ‘I have a really good job now, so why not? I was given these opportunities as a student, so because I can, I should give back.’”
Her decision to start an endowment stemmed from conversations with her husband and with Leah Mahoney, director of planned giving at the Center for Alumni Relations & Advancement. An endowed scholarship will continue to give back to the university in perpetuity, providing important scholarship funds not only during Abby's lifetime, but continuing indefinitely thereafter.
“It was a very smooth process setting it up,” she said. “It’s more a matter of whether you can financially make it happen.” It also helped that her employer has a matching program in place.
Abby's endowed scholarship will support both the general first-year student scholarship fund at Mines and second-year industrial engineering and math students. She hopes that providing scholarship funding will help ease concerns for those students and encourage them to keep going.
“I hope everyone can find their niche within the school and really enjoy it because I know I did.”
If you have questions about endowed or non-endowed scholarship gifts, contact Leah.Mahoney@sdsmt.edu.