UHSP Connects Students and Sponsors Through Virtual Scholarship Awards Ceremony

Published on 31 December 2020

In light of event restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic this fall, University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis hosted its annual scholarship awards dinner virtually. This year, the Scholarship Awards Committee reviewed 482 applications and ultimately selected 168 students to receive 182 scholarships.

The event, attended by more than 160 individuals, honored the accomplishments of student scholarship recipients and thanked the generous scholarship sponsors whose donations fund the scholarships awarded each year.

“What makes the scholarship dinner a special event is the company, the conversation and the connections,” explained Vincent Piazza, annual giving offer at the University. “Even though we had to host the event virtually this year, we wanted to find a space for people to enjoy the same interaction that they would have normally had at the dinner. This was a way to try and make those connections still feel special.”

The event was highlighted by individual meet-and-greet sessions held following the awards presentation. Piazza and the advancement team scheduled 86 one-on-one virtual sessions between student scholarship recipients and the scholarship sponsors.

“The sessions seemed to go really, really well,” Piazza stated. “We received a number of glowing reviews from sponsors about the experience. It is a great networking opportunity for students and a unique occasion for alumni and sponsors to hear from our students directly.”

Despite not being able to hold an in-person event this year, Piazza noted there were a number of benefits to the virtual format.

“Virtual meetings and online options continue to be a great resource and tool to connect our extended University community,” Piazza explained. “Many sponsors who live out of town, and wouldn’t have otherwise been able to attend, were grateful for the experience. This format allowed us to expand our network and reconnect with these sponsors, introduce them to our students and deliver them the interpersonal experience of an in-person event.”

The reduced cost in hosting a virtual event helped to boost scholarship funding as well. The savings from the event budget, usually reserved for the dinner and ceremony, were reallocated to the Office of Financial Aid to provide tuition assistance via grants to students facing financial hardship.

“Scholarships and student support are initiatives that our sponsors care deeply about," Piazza said. "We wanted the remaining event funds to be used in a way that honors what the event stands for and those it celebrates.”

Interested in supporting student scholarships? Learn how to create a donor-funded scholarship or how to support our scholars programs at uhsp.edu/give.

Explore more stories in the categories of: Alumni , Events And Awards , Philanthropy , Students

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