A Thank You to Our Donors

Without the generous support of alumni and friends, financial aid at Duke would not be possible. Current students have the opportunity to say "thank you" to the donors of their scholarship through the Undergraduate Student Thank You Note Program. Below are stories from Duke students who have benefitted from donor-supported, need-based financial aid as well as information for current students on how to participate in the Undergraduate Student Thank You Note Program.

Undergraduate Student Thank You Note Program

What is the Undergraduate Student Thank You Note Program?

The Undergraduate Student Thank You Note Program helps students express thanks to the donors of their named scholarships at Duke.  If you have been assigned a named scholarship by Undergraduate Financial Aid, your donor is interested in hearing about your life at Duke.  Your outreach to your donor also strengthens Duke’s relationship with generous alumni and friends who have invested in financial aid.  We ask that you write a thank-you letter for each year you receive the scholarship. 

How do I know if I have a named scholarship?

Check your DukeHub account under your Financial Aid tab.  Your named scholarship will be listed there along with a link to a scholarship description.  Should you have questions, ask your counselor in Undergraduate Financial Aid.  

What should I write?

  • Discuss what brought you to Duke.  Why did you choose Duke?
  • Have you chosen a major?  If so, write about it!
  • Have you had an amazing research, study abroad, and/or DukeEngage experience?  Tell those stories!
  • Check out the scholarship description on your DukeHub account.  Were you chosen for this award because of a specific reason?  For example, if your scholarship is for someone from North Carolina and you are from North Carolina, write about that!

How do I submit my letter?

Students type or handwrite their letters and send them to the Stewardship Coordinator, Joan Hodges, who works in Donor Relations in University Development at Duke.  Students send their notes by email, campus mail, or regular mail, and the coordinator will mail them from Duke on the students’ behalf. 


Campus mail (no stamp required):
Stewardship Coordinator
Box 90600

Regular mail (stamp required):
Stewardship Coordinator for Financial Aid
Donor Relations/Office of University Development
Duke University
Box 90600
Durham, NC 27708

Should you have questions about the donor associated with your scholarship, please contact Joan Hodges.

Joan Hodges

(919) 681-0446

Student Stories

Gloria Oluwasehun Adedoyin

Gloria Oluwasehun Adedoyin
Gloria Oluwasehun Adedoyin
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Class of 2016
Major: Biology
Minors: Chemistry & History

I chose Duke for a myriad of reasons (including the opportunity to cheer for the greatest college basketball team that will ever exist, EVER), but among the most salient was its strong community of learning despite a high level of academic competition. Before arriving at Duke, I asked current students, "Is Duke as hard as they say?” and unequivocally the answer was "Yes. Absolutely. 100%." But several added that fellow students are among the many resources to help you when times get tough. I liked that. I liked the idea that your classmates are there to help you when you need it. We aren't just in a classroom taking notes and competing to set the curve; we're truly in this together and are willing to help one another. Duke's learning community is not only one reason I chose Duke, but also one reason I love Duke.

It's important to say thank you to your scholarship donors because gratitude is essential to continuing the spirit of giving. Let them know that their scholarship has provided an opportunity that means more to you than just its monetary value. Donors should know just how important their kindheartedness is to many students. Writing a note and sending a card are both simple ways to express this impact. My donors have made it possible for me to attend a top-tier institution that would otherwise be financially out of reach for many students like myself. When I write to them each year, I am not saying thank you from myself but also from my mother and my sister who have constantly provided the support and encouragement I needed to do well in school. In short, I say thank you because it is truly my honor to do so.

Ileana Astorga

Ileana Astorga
Ileana Astorga
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Class of 2017
Major: Political Science
Minor: Education

Duke is a place where people from all corners of the world come together because they are passionate about thriving and pursuing a career that they love. I love that people of such a diverse background are able to come together and work side by side, including people from a wide socio-economic spectrum. By thanking donors and acknowledging that their generosity is the reason for my attendance at such a prestigious university, it allows for proof and self-fulfillment of their actions.

I know that with the generosity of my donors, I will be able to pursue a career that will allow me to reach out to students in the same position. As a first-generation college student and a recipient of an amazing scholarship, I want others to know what is possible – that their success is not determined by their parents’ salaries. Thanks to donors’ generosity and selflessness, recipients like me are encouraged to tell other students in the same position to not be afraid of financial need. Donors send a message to students that with drive and perseverance, the cost of tuition need not be the reason to abandon education.

Karina Martinez Romo

Karina Martinez Romo
Karina Martinez Romo
Trinity College of Arts & Sciences
Class of 2017
Majors: Psychology
Minor: Global Health

What is there not to love about Duke? Duke is a beautiful campus that could have been taken from the pages of Harry Potter. The academics are challenging and there are innumerable things to do, whether it is research or performing a monologue or attending basketball games! All you can imagine is at your fingertips, it’s just a matter of pursuing them. Another major reason I chose Duke is because of its diversity. It is something that Duke does well, selecting students from various backgrounds to create a vibrant and eclectic student body. There is not a day that passes me by and I am not in awe to be at such and amazing campus!

One of the simplest, yet most powerful things you can ever say to someone is “thank you.” Often times we are inclined to say or think “YES! I did it!” And surely, you did. You did accomplish many things, but it is important to remember that there are always people along the way that have encouraged you and helped you get to the place where you want to be. For me, saying thank you to my scholarship donors or to my family and friends, or my teachers or mentors that have supported me or continue to support me, is something I say with deep gratitude. It is saying thank you for believing in me, investing in me, being patient to see me grow and learn and reach my full potential. Of all people, they saw something in me that set me apart from others. For one reason or another, they decided to put their faith in me. They are my supporters; my fans if you will, and they know I will do great things and give back as they have done with me. And I truly appreciate that. Thank you.