Donors play a fundamental role in the continued success of Northwestern State athletics, and for one day, students, athletes and staff take time to show their appreciation.
This was the third annual Thank a Donor Day since former Lady Demon track great Dr. Haley Blount Taitano came forward with the idea.
“I’m proud of it and how it’s grown,” Taitano said. “Our student-athletes now, they know what this is. When they come up, they know, they sign the cards – they know what to do.
“As a student-athlete who received a scholarship here, it means a lot to me because I couldn’t have gone to school without it, or I would still be in debt today. It’s just a small way that we can start making that connection to (athletes) so that they understand it now and hopefully they’ll want to give back some day, too.”
Director of Athletics Greg Burke participates in both the giving and receiving of appreciation letters. He believes the event not only helps to make sure donors know just how highly regarded they are on campus, but also hopes it imprints the idea of giving back to current students down the line.
“The support that we receive makes all the difference on all levels for our athletic program in terms of being successful in so many ways,” Burke said. “I think the student-athletes are the direct beneficiaries of the support so I think it makes a lot of sense for them to directly acknowledge those who have been so generous.
Since its beginnings three years ago, Thank a Donor Day has grown into a popular event on campus. Pizza and drinks were given to participants and even live music was provided by Larry’s Group.
Mikayla Brown, a junior softball standout, appreciates the chance to show gratitude to NSU donors.
“It’s great. They are great supporters of everything,” Brown said. “They take their time out, they donate, they do things for us and it’s a big reason why we feel so supported here, and it feels just like a family.”