Bellarmine Alumni Association Board pledges $150,000 to support Bellarmine Forward initiative

August 3, 2023

Incoming first year students hold a
The Bellarmine Alumni Association Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to gift $150,000 to Bellarmine Forward, the bold initiative to position the university as the region’s premier institution for well-rounded, career-ready graduates. 
The board made the pledge, which will be paid over three years, at its July 26 meeting.
“Our goal as the Alumni Board of Directors is to support the advancement of the university,” said Board President Winnie Shouse, a nurse practitioner with Norton Community Medical Associates Hurstbourne who holds four Bellarmine degrees. 
“Bellarmine Forward aims to continue to advance, strengthen and improve Bellarmine by creating new academic programs, fundraising initiatives and community partnerships and maximizing access and affordability for students. Supporting this initiative will not only help improve Bellarmine as an institution but will also provide more opportunities for current and potential students. These opportunities will help ensure they are poised for success and prepared for their careers.”  
“I want all students to have the opportunities to achieve their greatest dreams.”  Alumni Board President Winnie Shouse

Shouse, who earned a Doctorate in Nursing Practice in May 2023, also holds a bachelor’s in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing with a focus on Nursing Administration and an MSN-Family Nurse Practitioner degree from Bellarmine.

“The education that I received at this university was exceptional. As a result, I was able to achieve my greatest dream, becoming a nurse practitioner and getting my doctorate,” she said. “I want all students to have these same opportunities to achieve their greatest dreams.”
Bellarmine Forward, which was announced in March 2023, builds upon the university’s strategic plan, strengthening academic programs in high-demand career fields and adding flexibility for an enriching, multidisciplinary liberal arts experience. It is focused on the personal attention paid to each student to ensure their access to higher education, along with their success in the classroom and in their career field.
“Our $150,000 pledge was based on Bellarmine’s time-honored tradition of progressively bettering lives and communities through a liberal arts education,” said Eric Hawkins ’08 MBA, member and immediate past president of the Alumni Board. “The board comprises four generations of alumni who have benefited from and supported the university and have no plans on discontinuing our support when the university needs us most.”
The Bellarmine Forward pledge builds upon the substantial financial support the Alumni Board already provides to the university.
The board supports an endowed fund at Bellarmine and awards five competitive scholarships of $4,000 each ($1,000 per year) to incoming legacy students—the children, grandchildren, stepchildren or step-grandchildren of Bellarmine or Ursuline graduates. This is in addition to a new renewable legacy scholarship of $4,000 ($1,000 per year) to all incoming legacy students, who may also apply for the competitive scholarship.
For the past decade, the Alumni Board has provided more than $250,000 in support to Bellarmine through three main fundraising events:
  • Trivia Knight, one of the largest such events in the nation, in March;
  • Brew at BU, a beer, wine and food festival that is part of Alumni Weekend (Sept. 9, 2023, from 7-10 p.m.); and
  • The Bellarmine University Golf Classic at Hurstbourne Country Club (Oct. 2, 2023; register here)
“Our Alumni Board is committed to providing current and future students with the same excellent Bellarmine experience that helped them to succeed—and Bellarmine Forward will do just that,” said Stephanie Pieper Reilly ’06/’10, Executive Director of the Bellarmine University Alumni Association. “We thank them for their commitment, their leadership and their generosity.”

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