Cornish Scholarship Helping NU Students for Nearly 80 Years
Recent UNL grad proud to be part of a long line of recipients.
Posted: Mon, Aug 22, 2016
Erica Marshall didn’t grow up in Nebraska. Yet she’s one of its biggest fans now.
The recent UNL graduate was a student ambassador for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. She worked eight hours a week in the dean’s office in Ag Hall.
“What I do all of my office hours is basically tell people how much I love the university,” she said last spring, “and how I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had without it.”
Erica grew up in a rural town in Minnesota called Luverne. She chose UNL over another school – a tough decision at the time – because scholarships made Nebraska affordable. She graduated in May with a degree in food science and technology. Her dream career is to work for Hershey, the chocolate company.
She also dreams of developing some sort of nutritional product that will help disadvantaged people around the world. That passion began in the spring of 2015, when she took a class taught by Howard W. Buffett (AGRI 496: Independent Study, Case Studies in Global and Local Food Systems). The class opened her eyes to humanitarian efforts and how she could use her skills in ways that could be the most helpful to people.
Her scholarships, she says, have been “super helpful” in her years in Nebraska.
“They’ve given me the opportunity to focus more on my studies and take on jobs that are more relevant to my major, like working at the food processing center (on campus) or taking on this job as an ambassador, which doesn’t necessarily have great pay but is a great way to give back to the university.
“But besides being financially helpful, I feel they’re also a vote of confidence in my future – that people believe what I’m doing is worthwhile.”
Her senior year, Erica received a $2,500 Edward J. Cornish Scholarship, which is the oldest scholarship fund in the long history of the University of Nebraska Foundation.
She feels honored to be the latest in the long chain of students Mr. Cornish has helped, long after his death, dating back to 1937 when he established his fund. (Cornish, a UNL graduate himself who went on to be CEO of the National Lead Company, donated shares of his company’s stock, along with a check for $2,500 and some of his prized Jersey cattle.)
One year before his gift – on June 3, 1936 – the University of Nebraska Foundation was born. This year, the foundation is celebrating its 80th anniversary by looking back at the many milestones (see timeline on the back page) and by looking forward to many more years of connecting donors' dreams and passions to the mission of the university and to promising students like Erica, who wants to take what she’s learned at the University of Nebraska and make the future better for others.
She wants to make a difference for people, she says, because people have done that for her.
“I felt so welcomed here,” she says, “and that has meant so much to me and to my family. That is so much of what everyone from Nebraska stands for – making me feel like I have a family here. And that is what I tell all of my out-of-state students and especially their parents when they visit here – ‘I feel I have people who definitely care about me and would do anything for me.’
“That speaks to the character of Nebraska.”