Saint Joseph’s College sophomore Music major Donald Mori of Crown Point, Ind. was among 31 students from Indiana’s independent colleges and universities honored at the 24th annual Realizing the Dream banquet in Indianapolis in November.
In order to receive the award, students must be the first in their families to go to college, be chosen for outstanding achievement by their college during their freshman year, and be advancing towards successfully completing a bachelor’s degree.
“It’s amazing to receive this award,” said Mori. “I received this award and was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta honor society around the same time, so everything seemed to fall into place.”
Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the Realizing the Dream award recognizes first-generation students attending ICI campuses, along with their inspirational teachers and families. Each student receives a $2,000 check to help with college costs, and each student’s chosen most influential teacher/mentor receives $1,000. Johann Sletto, Mori’s band director at Crown Point High School in Crown Point, was honored as a result.
“He really sealed the deal for me on choosing music education as a course of study,” Mori said. “He was also like a second father to me. I felt like he deserved to have the favor returned.”
One out of every three students on ICI campuses is a first-generation college student. Generous financial aid provided by the campuses, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all students in Indiana.
“We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for making this inspirational program possible,” says Richard L. Ludwick, ICI president and CEO. “We are proud, too, that because of the higher graduation rates of our ICI institutions, these students are twice as likely to realize the dream of completing their degrees in four years.”
Named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation, a "Best Midwestern College" by the Princeton Review, and “Best Value” and "Best Midwestern College" by US News & World Report, Saint Joseph's College is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 35 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of nearly 1,200 students.
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