Ben Waite just graduated from Rose-Hulman Technical Institute in May. The Clay City native talked about the cost of a secondary education Tuesday and wants to thank the Greenwell Trust, established by the late Ed and Maude Greenwell. Their scholarship paid for all of Ben's tuition costs at the college.
By LINDA MESSMER
Last month Benjamin E. Waite received a mechanical engineering degree from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. The price for that little piece of paper was nearly $130,000. The tuition cost, alone, was just under $90,000. That was all paid for by a Greenwell Trust Scholarship. And Ben is extremely grateful.
"I think engineering is a neat profession," Ben said while talking about the effect the scholarship had on his life. "I like working with my hands and coming up with new ideas for products. The whole idea for being an engineer is to improve life for others."
The son of Gary and Roseanne Waite of Clay City, Ben had always wanted to go to Rose-Hulman. His older sister, Sarah, was in the first class at Rose-Hulman to graduate women.
While Ben's family is financially stable, with four children, trying to fund that kind of educational costs would have certainly been a financial burden.
Ben graduated from Clay City High School in 2000 with a GPA of 3.97. During his senior year, he started looking for some college financial assistance.
The Greenwell Trust Scholarship was established by the late Ed and Maude Greenwell who were Clay City natives. It's awarded to one Clay City and one Northview High School student each year. The scholarship pays full tuition to the student's college of choice and can be renewed each year if he or she maintains at least a 3.0 GPA.
As Ben remembered, when he applied four years ago, he had to submit an application and essay to the scholarship committee. Eligibility is not based on financial need but on factors such as community involvement, academics and extra curricular activities.
Now Ben is excited and preparing to move to Indianapolis to begin his professional career with Beckman Coulter Inc. The company basically makes laboratory equipment for hospitals. They also automate lab processing equipment and do a lot of drug testing and research.
"Each process requires the equipment to be tweaked a little bit to perform a certain procedure," Ben explained. "My minor is in biomedical engineering."
Ben said the additional costs to go to Rose-Hulman, including books, fees and room and board run about $10,000 a year. The college has exceptional scholarship opportunities. And Ben got scholarships from Rose-Hulman to pay for the rest of his educational expenses.
He was asked how the Greenwell Trust Scholarship had impacted his life.
"If I didn't get the scholarship, I could have done it with student loans. Lot of kids do it. I would have been tremendously in debt." Pausing a short time to think, Ben continued. "It's hard to say what I would have done if not getting the scholarships. ...The Greenwells gave me the opportunity to go to the school of my choice. It's laid a good foundation for my professional career.
"I looked at an itemized annual cost. That cost plus interest for the next 15 years would have been coming out of my pocket.
"The Greenwell committee is anonymous. And I thought I needed to thank somebody. If I could talk to a member of the Greenwell family I would thank them a lot. I don't think even they realized just how much effect their scholarship would have on so many kids."
So, Ben wrote a letter to the Editor of The Brazil Times.
Letter to the Editor
Upon my recent graduation from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the late Mr. Ed and Mrs. Maude Greenwell for establishing the Greenwell Trust Scholarship which assists Clay County high school students such as myself in their fulfillment of secondary education. Being chosen as a Greenwell Scholar entitles the recipient to benefit from a full-tuition scholarship for all four undergraduate years as long as certain academic requirements are met during that time. I feel very fortunate, yet quite proud, to have been chosen as a Greenwell Scholar. The financial burden of a private institution such as Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology can be overwhelming, but the trust created by the Greenwells helped to alleviate the majority of this burden. Without their trust, I may have not even had the opportunity to attend the college of my choice.
Any success I will have in my future professional life will be attributed in part to the large role in which Mr. and Mrs. Greenwell have played in my education. Surely I speak for other Greenwell Scholars and scholarship winners by saying that I am grateful beyond imagination to Mr. and Mrs. ed Greenwell and the Greenwell committee.
Benjamin E. Waite
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Class of 2004