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Thomas Lonsbury Scholarship Event: Connecting alumni and students

Rory Ball
November 16, 2022

The Thomas Lonsbury Scholarship Event invites McClure alumni, faculty and student volunteers for a two-day event in Athens to raise money for the school’s scholarship fund. The event, originally named Lonsbury Scholarship Golf Classic, was started in 2002 by Thomas Lonsbury, a passionate golfer and member of the McClure School advisory board. Until 2012, Lonsbury was chair of the event’s advisory board and upon his death, it was renamed Thomas Lonsbury Memorial Scholarship Golf Classic.

Nick Lathrop
Nick Lathrop preparing to launch the 2022 fundraising event at the Athens Country Club.

Most recently, Nick Lathrop has been directing the event, casting a wider net to include McClure alumni who do not necessarily have an affinity for golf. Last year, at the event’s formal dinner to kick off the golf outing, 65 people attended. The next day, only 27 participants made it to the golf course. To continue memorializing Lonsbury and include more inclusive activities for participants, Lathrop renamed the event: Thomas Lonsbury Scholarship Event.

At this year’s event in September, Lathrop included a walking tour of The Ridges with George Eberts, a professor of astronomy and previous staff member at the beloved Athens site. At its core, Lathrop wants the event to spark nostalgia in alumni. To encourage alumni to come back and experience the Athens they once called home — whatever that means for them.

Student volunteers at 2022 event
Student volunteers at this year's banquet held at OU Inn

Although McClure students who volunteer are tasked with helping participants, the event gets them in front of alumni now in positions at large tech/IT companies. Companies like Cisco, Progressive, Spectrum, Tollanis and many others sponsor the event. This gives students a myriad of networking opportunities to meet professionals in the IT and technology industries they would like to work in.  

The event also targets business-to-business connections. Resellers who see large vendors sponsoring the event want to make connections from company to company. The larger companies, like Dell and Cisco, also see partnership opportunities. Alumni from these large companies also work to find the funds to sponsor at the event to build brand recognition and maintain those business relationships.

Lori Meierdiercks and Phil Campbell
Phil Campbell, McClure Emeritus Faculty, with Lori Meierdiercks, Territory Account Manager at Cisco, at the OU Inn reception.

Faculty-to-alumni engagement is also an important feature of the event. In 2021, the event recognized the retirements of Barb Whiddon and Hans Kruze, McClure faculty. Alumni who knew Whiddon or Kruze flocked to the event to celebrate their careers. The event gives alumni and professors a chance to reconnect and discuss what has changed for them, personally and professionally.

In 1982, Dr. Joseph H. Berman founded the McClure School, and he, unfortunately, died in December 2021. This year, Lathrop made it a point to memorialize Berman’s legacy and honor the impact he had on every person at the event.

Over the 20+ years that the event has been held, it has raised $300K, and this year alone the event raised $18K for student scholarship funds. The scholarship recognizes and benefits outstanding students in the school. Matt Bange, now a consulting manager at Five9, received the Lonsbury Scholarship while he was a student at the McClure School. Read more HERE about Bange’s experience at the McClure School and his current position.  

The McClure School of Emerging Communication Technologies strives to offer the best academic programs in the IT (Information Technology), the game development and the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR) industries. Our programs and certificates cover numerous aspects of the rapidly changing industries of information networking, cybersecurity, data privacy, game development, digital animation and the academic side of esports.