Students benefit from Cornish Scholarship

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Students still benefit from first endowed scholarship created in 1930s

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Chloe Christensen (left) and Justin Tran are 2018-19 recipients of the Edward J. Cornish Scholarship, which is the oldest endowed scholarship at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

For many students, a scholarship award means much more than life-changing financial support.

These students hear about luncheons and award ceremonies where student recipients are able to thank the donors who generously established scholarship funds. They picture themselves at these events in their most respectable clothes, shaking hands with the person who will impact their education.

When University of Nebraska–Lincoln junior Justin Tran found out he received the Edward J. Cornish scholarship, he had that type of moment.

The food science and technology major said that if he could, he would sit down with Mr. Cornish, tell him how appreciative he is for the scholarship he received and talk about his journey as a college student and how he has been progressing throughout the years.

The late Edward Cornish graduated from the University of Nebraska and became chairman of the National Lead Company in New York. In 1937, a year after the University of Nebraska Foundation was founded, he made a gift to establish the first permanently endowed scholarship fund there to forever support the education of Nebraska students.

At the time, his gift was valued at $14,400 and was comprised of cash, stocks and some Jersey cattle. Today, his investment has a market value of about $90,000. Annual income from the endowment provides one or two scholarships a year to students studying in the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

As a first-generation college student, Tran didn’t always plan on attending UNL. He started out in culinary school and graduated, but he was seeking something more. After some research, he chose to enroll in the food science program at UNL where he is learning the science behind food.

“I’m extremely grateful for it, because it does help me stay more focused on school rather than focusing on going into work,” Tran said about receiving a Cornish Scholarship. “It helps pay for many things around school: tuition, books — anything a student would need money for. You can imagine how tough it might be without a scholarship.”

In contrast to Tran’s experience, many of Chloe Christensen’s family members are University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumni. As a Lincoln native, Christensen knew she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother and older sister and join the sea of red.

A junior studying food science technology, Christensen said her passion for food science came from watching her mother deal with food intolerances.

“When she first started getting sick, I became interested in what goes into food and what kind of regulations they put on food,” she said.

Christensen was relieved when she found out she received the Cornish Scholarship. She said going into debt as a 20-year-old isn’t something she wanted to face and wishes she could thank the donor for impacting students throughout the years.

“I think it’s really amazing that it’s still around and something that’s really relevant today,” Christensen said. “Someone who has donated to this school really sets a precedence for what we do here at the university. It’s just a really big part of my life, and I feel really thankful for anyone who donates.”

In the future, Christensen hopes to pursue food product development or quality.

Tran wants to be involved with food research and development.

Both of them share gratitude for a fellow Nebraska graduate they will never meet who had the desire and foresight to invest in their education back in 1937.

If you’re interested in establishing your own named scholarship fund, please contact us at or call 800-432-3216.

This article was written by Jessica Moore, public relations intern at the University of Nebraska Foundation. She hails from Kansas and is a senior at the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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