2016 LPCMGA Scholarship Recipient
Contributed by Ann Klosinski
The annual Scholarship Dinner was held on Friday, September 23, at the Purdue Memorial Union in West Lafayette, Indiana. Russ and Ann Klosinski attended, representing the La Porte County Master Gardener Association.
Each year the LPCMGA awards a scholarship to a deserving student from La Porte County whose course of study is in Horticulture, For the second consecutive year, Nick Francesconi, a Landscape Architecture major, was the recipient. In addition, he also received a scholarship from the Indiana Daffodil Society whose representatives, Tamara Mitman and Mary Milberger, became acquainted with him at the 2015 dinner. They were as impressed with Nick as we were and subsequently chose him as their scholarship recipient this year. Next year Nick will be involved in an internship that could send him to any area of the country, possibly Texas. He also talked about some of the field trips they have taken, including one to the Dunes Lakeshore. After the internship he will return to Lafayette for his senior year studies. Nick gave up a day of his spring break to staff a Q&A table at our March 2016 Garden Show and has volunteered to join us again at our 2017 show. We had a little laugh when Mary and Tamara asked if he would volunteer at one of their functions too….there goes his spring break!
Mitch Daniels spoke briefly before dinner. After an enjoyable meal, Eric Putman, Director of Advancement & Marcos Fernandez, Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs expanded on the theme of where Purdue has taken its graduates. Purdue has the highest pre-admission scores (SAT’s etc.) of any other university in the state and the students in the current Senior, Junior, Sophomore and Freshman classes are the highest rated of any other classes that have attended Purdue. Of the 2015 graduating class, 75% entered the work force earning an average salary of $44,000 and 20% went on to graduate school. A total number of 1,695 agricultural scholarships were awarded with a value of $2,004,224.00.
The program ended with comments from Jay Akridge, Glen W. Sample, Dean of Agriculture, who felt it was pretty tough following the presentation of an outstanding student. We enjoyed talking to Hazel Wetzstein, head of Purdue University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, who stopped by our table. She is a big fan of the Master Gardener program and offered to give us a tour of the department - an idea for a field trip?
It was a busy and exciting weekend on campus with several awards dinners, parent’s weekend, the dedication of a John Wooden memorial statue at the Mackey Arena and their first home football game of the season taking place. Nick’s parents were arriving on Saturday. As the evening ended, we said our goodbyes and wished him a beautiful weekend with his family. We left knowing our association’s scholarship program is a worthy one that we should work to continue.