Richard and Claudia Beeny are strong believers that living in a
residence hall can foster students’ leadership potential. In the
past, they have supported friends’ children with the gift of a
first-year residence hall experience. Now, they are making that
experience available to even more students through an endowed
scholarship at Bellarmine they established in January.
However, the Beenys took very different journeys to arrive
at this destination.
Claudia Beeny learned about leadership by serving as a
Resident Advisor while in college herself and taking advantage of other community-building
opportunities, such as Semester at Sea. She also saw the value of the residence life experience in
her 20 years working in higher education, including four years as Dean of Students at Bellarmine
from 2003-07. “Colleges are big places. One sure place to find your niche is the residence hall.
It’s on a smaller scale, and the leadership opportunities are a nice size for a freshman. It’s not
president of the SGA – it’s manageable, a good way to learn to be a leader.”
Richard Beeny, who is CEO of LifeScience Logistics, a company that warehouses pharmaceuticals,
was an older student and never lived on campus. “He wishes now that he had had that traditional
residential experience and taken advantage of the leadership opportunities,” Claudia Beeny says.
“That’s why he is so supportive that we provide that opportunity for a student.”
The Claudia and Richard Beeny Endowed Residence Life Scholarship will provide room and
board for a full-time, first-year traditional student who demonstrates financial need. In exchange,
the recipient agrees to become a residence hall representative or to be involved in some aspect
of hall government.
To be eligible for the scholarship, the student must have a high school grade-point average
of 3.0 or higher. But he or she doesn’t necessarily need to have a long résumé filled with
extracurricular accolades. Richard and Claudia Beeny are looking for previously untapped
potential – an “inner shine.”
That’s how Claudia Beeny refers to the passion that motivates a person in her online community,
House of Shine, which is associated with her consulting company, CKB Group. “When you are
truly plugged into your life’s passion, you will brighten your corner of the world,” she says. “And
if each of us is plugged into our life’s purpose, eventually the world will be a brighter place.”
The residence hall experience helps students plug into the life of a college, she says, and to
grow into roles they might never otherwise have seen for themselves.
“I think, having worked on campuses with students, it’s easy to default to the student leader
who presents as polished, but my heart resides more with the students who never even thought of
themselves as leaders,” she says. “Maybe they were quiet in high school, and they want a new start
in college. Maybe deep, deep, deep inside, they think they might have leadership potential, but they
have never exercised that skill. They are undiscovered talent. We have a real heart for the student
who maybe has never had a leadership position but is just waiting to discover that talent.”