Sowing the seeds for student success
Giving Profile: Warren and Cathy Gorrellby Cindy Thomsen | Fall 2009, Giving | No Comment | |
Warren Gorrell has always known that a great education is the first step toward success. Warren and his wife, Cathy, have made that first step a little easier for deserving Peabody students by endowing two scholarships.
“We were just so impressed by everything we saw at Vanderbilt while our daughter, Courtney, was there,” Warren says. “We believe that it’s incredibly important to make opportunities available to people who can’t afford them.” They have endowed the Warren and Catherine Rice Gorrell Scholarship and the Gorrell-Rice Family Scholarship.
“I understand that some people like to support bricks and mortar projects,” Cathy says. “But I would ask them to focus more on what’s happening inside the building—because if you can help a student get through school, it’s such a wonderful gift.”
Stefanie Tollefsen, Class of 2013, couldn’t agree more. The first-year student from Chicago is a beneficiary of the Gorrell’s generosity.
“I’m really honored to have this scholarship,” she says. “So many people want to come here, and I’m one of the lucky ones that got the chance.”
“We funded one four-year scholarship, and it was just so gratifying that we created the second one,” Cathy says.
“We felt like we were really making a difference, and when we asked each other if we should do it again, the answer was an easy yes.”
Vanderbilt’s expanded financial aid program is another factor in the Gorrell’s commitment to the school.
“It’s very compelling to support a program that reduces a student’s debt load. With the state of the economy, it’s more difficult for people to afford Vanderbilt,” Warren says. “This is a time when you can make a really big, really direct difference to someone.”
For Stefanie, who is majoring in human and organizational development, the scholarship makes it possible for her to experience that difference through the quality of her Vanderbilt education.
“Even though I don’t know exactly what I want to do,” Stefanie says, “I know that my Peabody degree will absolutely put me on the right path. I really want to do something I’m passionate about. I want to do something I love.”
photo credits: Steve Green