Scholarship recipients put gratitude into words

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The two students want donors to know their gifts are appreciated.

Grant Wallace had been drinking a lot of hot tea to stay alert.

John Blecha had been downing can after can of pop.

The two UNMC medical students were tired and stressed. They were in the middle of studying for their first round of board exams, called “Step 1,” which everyone takes after the second year of med school. They also were about to take the last core exam for the year – one covering hematology and oncology.

But nothing was going to keep either of the scholarship recipients from taking the time to write a speech and deliver it to donors at the Burnett Society luncheon in Omaha on April 27.

“I’ve worked on a farm since I was 12, and I definitely know the value of a dollar,” John told them from the podium. “So it’s difficult to put into words how much scholarships mean to me and to my peers.

“You may think the donations you have given go unnoticed. But I would like to take the time to thank everyone who has given any amount, no matter how large or small.

“You are making a difference.”

Members of the Burnett Society are people who name the University of Nebraska Foundation as a beneficiary of their estate or who have planned future gifts to benefit the University of Nebraska.

Once a year, the foundation honors them at luncheons – one in Lincoln and one in Omaha.

The 2012 Lincoln event was April 13 at the Embassy Suites downtown. Scholarship recipients spoke. After that lunch, many Burnett Society members toured the Hendricks Training Complex at Memorial Stadium.

The Omaha event was held in UNMC’s Michael Sorrell Center for Health Science Education. It included a tour of the campus on “Ollie the Trolley.”

Blecha grew up in Gothenburg, Neb. He graduated from UNK. Wallace grew up in Oakland, Neb. Both are second-year med students. Both hope to stay in Nebraska.

Wallace, a UNL grad, wants to practice medicine, and maybe be a surgeon, in a rural area someday.

He told the donors how fortunate he and all the other med students at UNMC were to have such great facilities, cutting-edge technology and passionate, dedicated faculty.

“These things would not be possible without donors like you who have made a commitment to Nebraska’s future by supporting students, faculty members, research and facilities,” he said.

“We deeply appreciate the support, and will ensure your investment in us pays dividends for years to come through the positive impact we will make on the lives of those we serve.

“Thank you.”

Student support is a top priority of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you’d like to help students like John and Grant, please consider giving online or contact the foundation at 800-432-3216. For more information on the Burnett Society, please contact someone on the foundation’s Gift Planning staff.

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