Continuing The Tradition
Gratitude in their Hearts
. . . is hard for these students to express, after receiving the gift of an education at Ricks.
Brett Sampson (88)
like me, you always smile as you think of your time at Ricks College; it
comes from a peculiar fondness common among alumni. Every year, more and
more highly qualified young people hope and pray that they too will get to
have "the Ricks experience." These hopeful students are
dedicated to the gospel, as well as to their pursuit of a continued
education. They each anticipate the uniqueness of learning in a spiritual
after being accepted, there is a specific group of qualified, worthy
students who would not have the opportunity to attend Ricks, were it not
for the generosity of others. While all who come to Ricks College benefit
from what thousands of tithe payers provide, scholarships largely come in
the form of donations from individuals.
often, alumni and friends willingly add to the scholarship funds without
ever learning what became of their gift. There are those who establish
specifically named scholarships and do hear back from the student
recipient through thank you notes and pictures. But so many others give to
Ricks College in smaller amounts, simply trusting it will be used wisely.
Largely unheard are the students' individual expressions of joy and
gratitude for that wise and caring investment.
recently talked to just a few of the students now benefiting from the
generous scholarship money alumni like you have provided. This is not only
their chance to say thank you, but an opportunity for you to get a glimpse
into the hearts of this high-caliber group, and see how their lives are
Poulsen is a sophomore from Aberdeen, Idaho. "And when I tell
someone I was born and raised there, I mean it," she says. "I
was born right in our home; my father delivered me." While working on
her father's farm, she developed a love for the out-of-doors and somehow
found the time to develop her abilities in sports and singing. She is in
the middle of her general studies and plans on continuing with vocal
performance at another school later.
Kamber is a recipient of a private donor scholarship, she was able to
write and thank the individuals making her education possible. But as we
sat together in the new Kimball building on campus she added something
significant, "I did thank them right after I received the
scholarship, but they have no idea what I've experienced since then. I'd like to thank them again now but don't even know how I would express the
difference their gift has made in my life.
the friends I've made, the thing I've gained the most from is the Church
setting. When I first got up here, I noticed the difference right away; I
mean, Church is even held in a classroom. Hearing the other kids'
testimonies and the way the bishoprics associate with the students so much
-- everything's on a whole different level.
love it because in class I don't just hear what some scientist said once,
I get to learn what God and the prophets and the LDS scientists have to
say. I would much rather learn on an LDS level of what Christ has taught
than just trust somebody who is only relying on logic. I have the Church
in my life every day and meet people who have the same standards and
morals as me.
the many people who have given to the College, she said, "They are
affecting people's lives for good, and something good is going to come
back to them somewhere down the line because of their gift. Whether they
get a personal thank you or not, I think in their heart they know that
they have done some good, and it is going to help somebody."
Barney, a sophomore from Orange County, California, is an
enthusiastic business management major and singer. Aside from appearing in
a musical in LA this summer, he's had the opportunity to use his singing
talent and perform for President Hinckley twice now as a Ricks College
student. One of the occasions was a performance of Come Unto Christ, part
of the sacred works series commissioned by Ricks College. Reflecting on
that evening he said, "I remember the prophet and some of the
brethren were down there listening to us sing, and I was just waiting for
the heavens to open that night. It was amazing. The spirit just kept
testifying to me of Christ's love and of the atonement. I will never be
the scholarship allowed Garet to come to Ricks sooner after his mission
(in the New York, New York North Mission -- Spanish speaking) than if he
had stayed home to work. "It was such a perfect transition going from
one spiritual environment to another," he said. "I loved
my mission and I really wanted to continue the feelings I had there, so
this was perfect for me."
knew that my Heavenly Father had paved the way for me because, without the
scholarships, we really wouldn't have had enough money for me to come. I
feel really blessed, and kind of feel like I have a lot to live up to
while I am here. I'm not going to let anybody down because there are a lot
of people who have given me this opportunity. Honestly, I just feel like
if I don't learn everything I can and then share with other people, I
would really be wasting so many people's time and money. I feel like it's
my obligation, and I'm grateful for it."
acknowledges that not everyone can establish a private scholarship; but,
he says, "Every donation that is given definitely makes a difference
-- even if it was in smaller amounts, or whatever. It's like the parable
of the widow's mite, and every bit of it counts. I just wish I could tell
them all personally, thank you; thank you so much. I really am grateful
for people like that -- all the people who give selflessly -- because it
makes such a big impact." He thinks for just a second, then adds,
"I think it could make an eternal impact; yes, I think it will."
Jeff Brimhall is a freshman from Mesa, Arizona, and is preparing for his mission. His scholarship means so much to him that he's taped it to his wall, "so I can see it every day when I go to bed," he says. "So any time I don't feel like doing my homework and I walk into my room, I'm reminded that it isn't my choice because I'm just paying for a small part of my education.
blessings I've received here are overwhelming, and the money I received
has changed my outlook on how I need to act here. I can't wait to actually
be able to help somebody else like they have helped me. I can't thank
everybody enough and I just hope that I'll live up to what I know I
night in my prayers I almost feel repetitious because I just constantly am
thanking the Lord for my opportunity to be here and for the opportunity
that I have to learn and the opportunity that I have that other kids don't
have. If there is a kid out there that would work harder than me, then I
am not doing my part. I know this is where I need to be, and my testimony
is growing every single day. I just hope that I have the testimony I
should have before I leave on my mission."
mission preparation is certainly helped by the four returned missionaries
he has for roommates. He says that they not only tell him about their
missions, but he sees what it has done for them in their actions. Some of
the things he's learned from their examples are how they schedule their
time, pray before meals, study their scriptures, and try to serve those
around them. "Now, I try and take every opportunity I have to serve.
I have an assistantship scholarship in the library which means I go down
there for two hours a day and help out in the reference desk and help out
wherever I can. In other words, I actually work for part of my
scholarship. I wish there was more I could do to give back but there is no
way I can repay all of the blessings I have been given. I am kind of
hoping that's what my mission will do for me -- allow me opportunity to
repay just a little more."
will be leaving on my mission in December, hopefully. I did a lot of
preparing and got the papers together before I came up here. I thought
this would be the best place to be. I prayed about it a lot to know what I
should do, and I felt that I needed to come up here for a semester because
I thought it would be the most influential thing before my mission. It's
apparent to me now that this is where I have been sent to learn before my
mission, and I know that it's a direct blessing from Heavenly Father for
me to be here."
Harris is a sophomore from Montpelier, Idaho, and is in the
Interpersonal Communications program. "Communication is so important
but so many people don't know how to use it. The reason I am taking these
classes is because I can apply it to jobs, to my family, to my future
spouse, just everyone I come in contact with."
asked Jessica what she thought made Ricks College so unique and why so
many people want to be a part of it. "Just the kind of people you can
associate with here and the things you can learn that I think you can't
learn anywhere else. Let me use an example," she adds, "Here, we
get balanced instruction because you have teachers who are teaching by the
spirit. They can teach you philosophy, but they teach you the
philosophical truth, I guess you could say. They'll tell you what the
world would teach, what they believe, and we are able to compare
answer to what she would say to those who have given her this opportunity
to learn, she said, "I would tell them that I am amazed that there
are still giving people like that in the world. I mean it is awesome. I
couldn't believe that people would give their money to put someone else's
child through school. There are ten kids in my family so this scholarship
for me is awesome. With a sister on a mission and another one here at
Ricks, it was really hard to even think about coming here. But it has
always been a dream of mine to come here. I came with my parents once when
I was real little; I just remember the feeling I had when I was here and
how much I wanted to come back some day and that just stuck with me ever
Orton grew up in Rexburg and only considered going to another
school as a back-up in case he couldn't go to Ricks. After a couple of
semesters, he served a mission in Birmingham, England, and has recently
returned home. "Coming to Ricks before my mission made me do some
things that were a little harder than I had ever done, specifically in
music and academics. I got to participate in a strong orchestra and play
in the Messiah with the other musical groups. It was hard music, but it
was a great experience; it taught me discipline and made me stretch
myself. My testimony also grew while I was here as professors would cause
to me consider new ideas. I would think, how do I know this is right? How
do I know this is true?"
scholarship has allowed him to return to Ricks this year. He mentions how
nice it is to be around people who share his values. "In the mission
field you can find people who are interested in talking to you, but that
is not always so, of course. When I got back to Ricks, I would talk to
people and everyone had a favorable response. You know, everybody was glad
that I wanted to talk to them. And it's neat to be around other people who
want to do what's right and be able to share bits of our testimonies with
each other. That's probably the most important thing to me."
also feel like Ricks gives probably one of the greatest academic
experiences available, and I am really grateful for that. I think that
it's because the teachers have a testimony of the gospel, they want to be
like Jesus and so they are trying to have a love for people. They really
care about the students and they are interested in each student. If you
need help, they don't brush you off, but are eager to help you out. They
actually want you to succeed, which I think provides for a phenomenal
"What people have done so that I can come to school is a selfless thing and is so fulfilling for me on the receiving end. I know that they have most likely given it in the spirit of love which really touches me, and I am grateful for that, and I appreciate being able to receive that. It has made so much possible for me and it reassures me that there are people who love and give in this world. I feel they make the world a better place. And I hope to be affiliated with Ricks College in the future. I do want to be able to help in similar ways."
five students are only examples of the 1,611 students the scholarship and
financial aid offices at Ricks College were able to assist in 1999 through
private and appropriated funds. While the amount donated to these offices
was comparable to past years, the overall rising cost of tuition etc.
poses a new challenge -- a heightened need to increase these funds and
ensure the aid of at least as many students in upcoming years. When you
respond to one of the phone calls or letters that come periodically, you
are helping students like those I've introduced you to today. Of course, a
scholarship is just one of the means by which alumni and friends like you
help others enjoy the uniqueness found at Ricks College. To all of you who
have given in any amount: the students thank you, and we thank you.
information on how you can help continue the tradition at Ricks, please
call, write, or check out our website. Expand the door of educational
opportunity for deserving and needy students.