For the second year in a row, Baker University has received a $5,000 gift from the Spencer C. Duncan “Make It Count” Foundation to benefit student veterans. The gift will take the form of 10 scholarships of $500 each awarded to veterans who are undergraduate students at Baker’s School of Nursing, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Professional and Graduate Studies. The awards are to be used to pay for books.
Megan and Dale Duncan started the foundation to honor the memory of their son, Spencer C. Duncan, who joined the military with a dream of making a difference in the world. He was killed in action while serving as a U.S. Army Specialist on the crew of a Chinook helicopter that was shot down on Aug. 6, 2011.
“A lot of times, a student veteran’s G.I. Bill or other education benefit takes care of most of their expenses, but sometimes not books,” Megan Duncan said. “So for us, it was really important [to make this gift] if a $500 book scholarship kept someone in school as opposed to having to leave or drop hours. That makes a difference.”
This is the second year Baker has received a gift from the foundation, whose president, Dail Blake, is a two-time Baker alumnus. The organization began donating to higher education institutions with a gift to Johnson County Community College, one of Baker’s articulation partners, in 2012 before developing giving relationships with other colleges and universities.
“We’d been looking to expand to other institutions to find ways to support student veterans on other campuses and Baker has a pretty strong student veteran population, so it was kind of a natural fit for us,” Dale Duncan said.
Baker is proudly designated as one of America’s top military-friendly colleges and universities, according to Military Advanced Education magazine. Baker’s Student Veterans Organization has grown in membership every year since its founding in 2014 and is open to student veterans and military family members from all Baker campuses.
“Baker University is truly grateful to be selected for a grant from the Spencer Duncan ‘Make It Count’ Foundation,” Amy Piersol, senior director of development, said. “The book scholarships it makes available provide additional and important support to our student veterans and ensure that Baker’s student veteran community continues to thrive and grow.”