By Bud Denega, Sports Information Graduate Assistant
Northwestern State celebrated an important annual tradition Thursday on the
“Keyser Bricks” outside of Keyser Hall, one made even more important by the financial difficulties wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student-athletes and coaches from all 14 collegiate sports at NSU took time out of their day to write thank-you letters to generous NSU donors as part of Thank A Donor Day.
“A day like today means a lot,” NSU quarterback Zachary Clement said. “Our donors give us the opportunity to be here, and the opportunity to play the sports we love and attend a university.
“We are really grateful for it, and to be able to voice it and thank them in a letter, it’s important to us.”
Clement is a sophomore, so this marked his second Thank a Donor Day. For freshman basketball player Osha Cummings, Thursday represented her first encounter with the event.
While she has been here for only a few months, Cummings understands the impact NSU donors have for her team and university. That’s precisely why she didn’t hesitate to send out some words of appreciation.
“This day and these letters show the people that give to us that we care,” Cummings said. “We appreciate what they’re doing.”
Thursday stood as Deputy Athletic Director Dr. Haley Taitano’s seventh Thank a Donor Day. She knows how crucial NSU supporters are for the Demons and Lady Demons to be successful in each of their athletic endeavors.
“The donors are a huge part of our success both on and off the field or the court of play,” Taitano said. “I also think it’s really important of our student-athletes to get in the habit of thanking the people that donate to their programs, especially the juniors and seniors. Those are the ones that turn around and become donors when they graduate.”
The impact goes beyond athletics.
Erin Dupree, NSU’s Assistant Director of Donor Relations, organizes fundraisers and activities where students can physically go to their donor’s homes and thank them in person. They haven’t had the opportunity to meet face-to-face since March, so Thank a Donor Day allows everyone at NSU to reaffirm their gratefulness.
“We want our donors to know that we haven’t forgotten about them,” Dupree said, “We obviously thank them every time we get a donation in, but today allows us to bring in our students and for the donors to get hand-written letters from the students who receive scholarships from their donations.”
The event is put together through a partnership with the NSU Foundation and the Demons Unlimited Foundation.
A significant number of student-athletes receive merit-based aid awarded through the NSU Foundation.
The Demons Unlimited Foundation helps support athletics scholarships in all 14 sports along with auxiliary services like sports medicine, strength and conditioning and marketing.
Photo Credit: Chris Reich / NSU Photographic Services