On January 28, 2017, ENMU held its annual Lovers for Learning Scholarship Dinner which raised funds for the ENMU Women Scholarship through a combined silent and live auction.
The silent auction featured a variety of donated items, from jewelry to plants to aprons. However, it was the live auction that caught everyone’s attention. Up for grabs was a long list of homemade desserts including cakes, brownies, cookies and pudding. All of the items auctioned were donated by members of the community in addition to ENMU Women members. Although bidding in the live auction was slow to arise, individuals soon began promising larger and larger sums for the desserts. Most notably, a pecan pie went for $75 and “Matilda’s Chocolate Cake” was sold at $105.
According to Dr. Patrice Caldwell, ENMU Women was formed soon after the university opened, sometime in the late 1930s. It was formed by professor’s wives and was originally called Faculty Dames. “None of these women had degrees, let alone PhDs. But then it began to modernize as more women began to work for the university, and the name changed to ENMU Women,” Caldwell said.
Gretchen Leigh, an executive secretary in the Information Technology Services Department at ENMU said, “I donated a dessert after I received the email inviting me. This is the first event I felt it would be really important for me to attend.” Leigh was a non-traditional student who went back to school when she was 36 and graduated with her bachelor’s degree at 40. “Women in situations like I was in need a hand up because they don’t have the scholarship opportunities new high school graduates do.”
The Lovers for Learning Scholarship Dinner is a long-standing tradition at ENMU. According to Janine Elder, “This event has been going on forever, at least for the 22 years that we’ve been here.” Elder has been a part of ENMU Women for over 20 years, holding various positions on the board across that time. “The dinner is held to raise scholarships for nontraditional students,” Elder said.
Janine Elder is married to ENMU history professor, Dr. Donald Elder. The two were married while they were still in college, but Janine Elder didn’t graduate with her degree until years later. “We had to make sacrifices for [Janine] to go back to school,” Donald Elder said, “This event really means a lot to us. We understand because we’ve been there.”