An anonymous donor has challenged the University of Lynchburg community to endow a new scholarship Inspired by the spirit of ubuntu and the national championship won by the LC women’s soccer team.
The donor has offered to match donations to the new Spirit of Ubuntu Scholarship Fund up to $50,000. The endowed fund would provide a scholarship each year to a rising junior or senior who exemplifies “teamwork, human kindness, and a sense of community,” according to the donor.
The women’s soccer team adopted ubuntu — the African philosophy sometimes expressed as “I am because we are” — as its unifying mantra in 2014. After the team won the national championship that year, a friend of the college inquired about making a gift to honor the team. This donor was impressed not only with the teammates’ outstanding season, but also with their commitment to Women of Worth: Against All Odds, a program through which they mentor girls at Dunbar Middle School in Lynchburg and raise money to support the education of several girls in Gulu, Uganda.
University of Lynchburg President Dr. Kenneth R. Garren announced the new scholarship and fundraising challenge on Saturday at the Alumni Awards Gala after the 2014 women’s soccer team was inducted into the LC Sports Hall of Fame.
“The spirit of ubuntu — of putting community first, finding joy in serving others, and sharing — is an important characteristic of the University of Lynchburg culture,” Dr. Garren said. “This is exemplified by our women’s soccer athletes, who not only unite together for victory on the soccer field, but also join each other in community service at home and abroad. Ubuntu also is evident in this offer by a friend of the College to honor this team not with a gift made in his own name, but a gift that invites all alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends of the College to unite in a common cause.”
The news of the scholarship was an honor for the team.
“The women’s soccer team and I are really excited that the University of Lynchburg community will continue to honor the Ubuntu philosophy by a creating this scholarship,” said Dr. Todd Olsen, women’s soccer head coach. “University of Lynchburg lives the philosophy ‘I am because we are,’ University of Lynchburg excels because we understand that it takes a community of selfless, caring people to educate our young people.”
Donations for the scholarship can be made online at www.connect.lynchburg.edu/ubuntu, by calling 434-544-8665, or by sending a check made out to University of Lynchburg, 1501 Lakeside Drive, Lynchburg, VA 24501.
“I hope many members of our community will answer this anonymous donor’s challenge to endow this new scholarship,” said Dr. Garren.
Any University of Lynchburg student, including athletes and non-athletes, can be nominated by their peers for the Spirit of Ubuntu Scholarship. The winner each year will be selected by a committee of deans and faculty members involved in student life.