Businesses, organizations and individuals from the Claremore and Rogers County areas converged on RSU March 30 in the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center Ballroom for breakfast at an event that benefited the education of local students.
The RSU Foundation Claremore Scholarship Fundraising Breakfast is an annual fundraiser that provides scholarships for students attending Rogers State University in Claremore, Pryor and Bartlesville.
RSU President Dr. Larry Rice was the first featured speaker.
“Thank you all for being here this morning,” Rice began. “Last year, we raised $52,000 at this event – right now, we’re at $47,000 (in donations) in cash, pledges, and arm-twisting, so thank all of you for that. You are making a difference. You’re the ones that make this happen and we couldn’t do what we do for the students without your support.”
Rice then acknowledged the importance of partnerships with the university and reminded the crowd about the university’s recent addition of a chemical engineering program.
“We will have our first inaugural class of chemical engineers on this campus in about five months. That’s a big deal,” he said. “The future’s never been brighter at Rogers State University.”
Next to speak was Senior Director of Development Tonni Harrald, who acknowledged the sponsors of this year’s Scholarship Fundraising Breakfast, thanking them for their support.
“So many of you (sponsors) do this every year and it’s something about which I’m very passionate. I can’t tell you how important this is to me personally, to the university, and especially, to the students that you see here this morning,” she said. “You truly are making a difference in their lives.”
Following Harrald was student speaker Fawzieh Hamdar of Lebanon.
“Good morning, my sisters and brothers in humanity,” Hamdar began. “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Only a life lived for others is a life worth living, a life worthwhile. I came to RSU to seek a better future for myself. On the personal side, I passed through several challenges and hardships – one of them was facing cancer. I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I was studying pharmacy back home and the situation back home was super, super bad, and I didn’t want to live in a place that wouldn’t support me, that wouldn’t give me opportunities. I wanted to have a better life for myself and for my family,” she said. “Since I’ve come here, the situation at home has become terrible – the protests in 2019, COVID-19, and the earthquake, so many things.
“After all that’s happening back home, I had tough times and wasn’t able to pay my tuition,” she said. “I felt lonely, depressed and scared that I wasn’t going to graduate, but you know…you were the hand that wiped my tears, you were the shoulder that I leaned on when I had no support.
“I’m now here standing in front of all of you – as a senior – to thank you all for the financial support that you provided me,” she continued. “I can never be more thankful, and as Helen Keller said, ‘Alone we can do so little, but together, we can do a lot.’ Thank you RSU Foundation. Thank you, President Rice. Thank you, everyone.”
The RSU Foundation’s upcoming fundraising events will include the RSU Bartlesville Scholarship Fundraising Breakfast in summer 2023, the RSU Pryor Scholarship Fundraising Breakfast in fall 2023, and the Auction and Dinner in November 2023.
Details about each of the fundraisers will be released as they become available.