MRI Scholarship and Golf Tournament a Continued Success; Helping Veterans and Military Families Afford College

Posted on June 14th, 2017 by Danielle Staub

The annual Dan Daniel Military Resale Invitational (MRI) Endowed Scholarship, dinner and golf tournament at Andrews Air Force Base was held on June 5 and 6. In the 2016-2017 school year, four scholarships were given out totaling around $10,000. At this year’s event, there was one presenting sponsor, as well as 11 platinum sponsors and 12 gold sponsors.

“What we are doing here today makes education possible. These scholarships will live on forever,” Dr. Tiffany Franks, president of Averett University, told the sponsors before dinner Sunday night. “When these graduates get their degree, you too are helping them reach that achievement.”

The four scholarship recipients have served in the military, are currently serving or lost a family member in the line of duty. Three of the four are standing in the picture above with United States Army Major General Jim Richardson and his wife, Major General Laura Richardson at the scholarship dinner.

Christine Harris (left) of Chatham, Va., is a freshman majoring in psychology. Christine attended community college before committing to play soccer for the Averett University women’s soccer team. She is excited to have the opportunity to return to school and the soccer field after serving in the United States Army.

“Receiving the MRI scholarship is an honor. At the dinner in Alexandria, I was personally able to thank those that contribute financially to the scholarship,” said Christine Harris, scholarship recipient. “It was a humbling experience to meet such kind, caring and devoted donors that give to a scholarship specifically to help with the cost of tuition for disabled veterans like myself.”

Mark McKinney (center) of Memphis, Tenn., is a freshman majoring in aerospace management with a concentration in flight operations. Mark is enlisted with the Marines and working toward his dream of flying commercial and military aircraft.

“It almost feels like being at home around people that care about you and put all of their hopes and dreams and beliefs into you and what you believe in. The scholarship means the world to me because every little bit helps but this is way, more than a little bit,” said Mark McKinney, scholarship recipient. “As a matter of fact, it’s way more than I could have ever asked for. Little did the contributors know, not only does that scholarship help pay for school, but it is also a really big confidence booster when you know that there are complete strangers that are willing to stand behind you. I’m very certain that I just gained 50 new family members from that night and I dare not let them down.”

Aaron J. Westhusing (right) of Waynesville, N.C., is a senior majoring in history and education. Aaron chose to attend Averett University because of the opportunity to play basketball for the Cougars. He has completed three seasons playing guard for the basketball team and is a member of the men’s tennis and cross country teams. He earned USA South Academic All-Conference honors last year in both cross country and basketball. He is a Dean’s Merit Scholar. Aaron is planning a career teaching history.

“It is always great to meet the donors personally. Meeting them directly gives me the opportunity to thank them in a way most people are unable to do. This scholarship has given me the ability to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, as my father once was. It has also enabled me to find my true passions and meet lifelong friends,” said Aaron Westhusing, scholarship recipient.

Kenneth Whitehead, of Danville Va., is a freshman majoring in biomedical sciences, also received the scholarship. Kenneth was unable to attend the event and it not pictured above.

Dr. Franks presented each sponsor with a diploma-style thank you gift for their commitment to Averett University and its students. Following the scholarship dinner, members of the Averett staff attended and played in the MRI Golf Tournament with the sponsors and wounded veterans at Andrews Air Force Base. Final monetary amounts for 2017-18 are still being calculated. All proceeds from the tournament go to an endowment devoted to military scholarships. Averett currently has approximately $380,000 in the endowment.