Rusty Eck Ford has donated a 2020 Ford Mustang EcoBoost Coupe to Newman University, which will be used in an effort to raise much-needed funding for student scholarships. The new vehicle is valued at $30,355.
The need for scholarships among college students is greater than ever. According to the most recent U.S. Department of Education statistics, 38% of Newman students receive federal pell grants intended for low-income students.
University President Kathleen S. Jagger, Ph.D., said student funding, especially during times of a pandemic, can help the most vulnerable students adapt and remove some stress, allowing them to focus on their studies and extracurricular activities.
“Many students have lost their part-time jobs or have had their hours cut back due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” she explained. “As for student support services, the university will have to find new and creative methods for tutoring and internship opportunities, which will take extra funding.”
Money raised from the raffle will go directly toward these needs. Only 2,000 raffle tickets will be available. Tickets can be purchased for $100 each from Aug. 5 through 7 p.m. Oct. 1. Five finalists will be randomly drawn on Oct. 2.
Each of the finalists will then receive a key fob and take their turn in attempting to start the Mustang, ultimately revealing the winner on Oct. 9 — the feast day of St. John Henry Newman.
The raffle is in lieu of Newman University’s annual Party on the Plaza fundraiser, which has been postponed in consideration for the safety of donors and the Newman community.
Board of Trustees Chair J.T. Klaus presented the idea and has been working with other board members to arrange the donation of the vehicle and will continue to work together to sell raffle tickets.
“I really just borrowed Larry Steckline’s idea from the Party on the Ponderosa more than 20 years ago,” explained Klaus. “Back then, Newman raffled off a pickup truck to raise money for scholarships.”
He said he has the highest confidence that the university will reach its goal of selling all 2,000 tickets.
“Les Eck picked us out the perfect, iconic silver 2020 Mustang with a gloss black top and wheels to match. When was the last time you had a 1 in 2,000, or better, chance of winning a brand new car?”
Klaus added that the Newman community is beyond grateful for the generosity of Rusty Eck Ford.
“We hold the highest amount of appreciation for Rusty Eck Ford and the way they have stepped up to aid in raising funds for our students,” said Klaus. “I like a good party. The next Party on the Plaza will be epic. We just can’t have it right now. That said, we intend to be open for business this fall and many of our students rely on scholarships.
“When you’re buying T-shirts, you can have a bake sale. When you’re educating the future of Kansas to transform society, sometimes you need Rusty Eck Ford. This is a way to do something really exciting for the greatest cause ever.”
The Eck family has been a longtime supporter of Newman including helping fund construction of one of the university’s main classroom buildings, Eck Hall, which features state-of-the-art nursing and allied health labs.