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    Award honoring a former MSU student helps Racers pay for private tutoring

    An Award honoring a former MSU student helps other Racers pay for private tutoring

    The Kenneth E. Meiners Memorial SSLD Award, established by Lou and Marie Meiners of Naples, Fla., recently paid for the private tutoring fees of 11 MSU students who use the services provided by the Murray State SSLD (Services for Students with Learning Disabilities) office.

    The $10,000 renewable award was established in July 2010 in memory of Kenneth E. Meiners, son of Lou Meiners, a former MSU student who passed away suddenly in 1994 following his sophomore year.

    Kenneth was dyslexic and utilized the services offered through the SSLD office while on campus. Cindy Clemson, SSLD Coordinator, remembers working with Kenneth her first year at Murray State.

    “Ken was here when I first started working in the SSLD office in 1993,” Clemson said. “At that time we had about 50 students who were on our roll and about 30 were using the services of the office, Kenneth was one of them.”

    Clemson said the SSLD office currently has 415 students who use the services offered by the office. The office offers a number of support services free of charge for students who have learning disabilities. However, private tutoring costs students a fee based on the number of hours per week that the students meet their private tutor.

    “Two hours of tutoring a week for a full semester costs $450 which is unaffordable to some students,” Clemson said. “However, because of the Kenneth E. Meiners Memorial SSLD Award, Murray State was able to award 10 students for the full semester and one additional student at midterm this very important service. Most of the students who were given this award have never had private tutoring or were only able to afford one hour per week.”

    The 11 recipients used the award exclusively for private tutoring fees and preference was given to those with financial need. Recipients were required to have and be able to maintain a 2.5 GPA in order to continue receiving the award.

    Clemson recently wrote a letter to the Meiners thanking them for their generous donation and updating them on the success of those 11 students who they helped this past semester.

    In her letter Clemson writes, “We just received grades for the fall semester and I am so pleased to let you know that all the students you sponsored did great. Their semester GPA’s ranged from a low of 2.78 to a perfect 4.0”

    Clemson went on to say that five of the 11 students made the Dean’s list, the first time ever for any of the students and this wouldn’t have been possible without the Meiners support.

    All of the award recipients also wrote letters to the Meiners expressing their gratitude. One student wrote that the award helped her with her paper in communication class, another that the tutoring helped her focus on her classes rather than how to finance her tutoring as she prepares for her upcoming graduation.

    One student who deals with the challenges that go along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder wrote a lengthy note to the Meiners explaining how grateful she was for this award. The student said the scholarship helped bring her GPA up to a 3.45 and she was happy to be making A’s and B’s in all her classes rather than making grades that range from A’s through E’s.

    Stephen Crouch, development officer at MSU, said the student’s improvement with their grades shows just how important the Meiners’ donation is to the success of those who utilize the services provided by the SSLD office.

    “When we first met with Lou and Marie, it was clear they had a sincere desire to help students,” Crouch said. “Because of the challenges Ken faced due to dyslexia, it was only natural for them to want to support those who faced similar hurdles. It is obvious that their generosity is paying immediate dividends in the form of success for these students.”

    Clemson and Crouch both expressed their gratitude to the Meiners for their generous donation and know this award will continue to impact the success of students at Murray State for years to come while honoring the memory of such a beloved student.

    “The private tutoring fees are an added burden for many of those that utilize the service,” Crouch said. “We are extremely grateful to Lou and Marie for being so willing to help alleviate this burden, while at the same time honoring Ken’s memory.”

    For more information on the Kenneth E. Meiners Memorial SSLD Award, please contact Stephen Crouch at 270-809-3123 or Cindy Clemson at 270-809-6888.