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Private, business donors up support for ISU Honors Program at 2020 Opportuni-Tea

March 11, 2020

Heithoff Family seated at the Opportuni-Tea
The Heithoff family, which created a new endowed scholarship for the ISU Honors Program, at the Opportuni-Tea. From left, Drake, Nasdina, Daniel and J.D. (Photo by Jillian Long)

POCATELLO – This year’s Opportuni-Tea, a fundraiser for the Idaho State University Honors Program held in the Stephens Center Marshall Rotunda, provided the opportunity for new private and business supporters to recognize achievements of students in the Honors Program.

The event held March 7 featured an afternoon tea, silent auction and a short program. Several newly established ISU Honors Programs scholarships were awarded at the tea. The Honors Program at ISU only accepts 100 new high-achieving students each year, and it is the only program in the state authorized to award the prestigious Honors Degree.

Those new awards included the Heithoff Scholarship, a newly endowed award created by the Heithoff family from Meridian, to support hard working Honors students carrying part- or full-time jobs and demonstrating commitment to their community. ISU Credit Union awarded scholarships for Excellence in Business and Excellence in Community Service, and ISU Credit Union provided scholarships recognizing student perseverance.

“We are really excited to announce and award the new scholarships this year and we would like to thank everyone and every business that supported this year’s event,” said Shannon Kobs Nawotniak, director of the University Honors Program and associate professor of volcanology. 

Kailey McDaniel received the inaugural Heithoff Scholarship for $600.

“The Heithoff scholarship is a brand-new endowed scholarship in the program so it is going to be continuing forever,” Nawotniak said.  “It was created by J.D. and Nasdina Heithoff, whose two sons, Daniel and Drake, have been in our program. They very generously wanted to support ISU Honors students in the future.”

Daniel finished his bachelor’s degree in marketing and management last year and is graduating with his MBA this spring. Drake will earn his exercise science degree in December and is completing a minor in business.

J.D. Heithoff provided the reason his family created the new Honors Program scholarship: “We simply want to give a little help to an energetic, thoughtful, caring and hard-working person who is striving to earn their college degree,” Heithoff said. “We want to assist somebody who understands what it means to work, somebody who knows how important a college degree is, and a person who somehow still finds a little time to give back to their community or their college through volunteering or mentoring.”

Idaho Central Credit Union awarded four $500 ICCU Scholarships for Perseverance. The recipients were Jaylan Aliev, Abigail Eatinger, Bailey Vahsholtz, and Sarah Doblinski.

“ICCU really wanted to identify students who have really had to overcome adversity, hardship and challenges beyond the norm and help them to be able to thrive and excel in their studies,” Nawotniak said.

ISU Credit Union gave two $500 ISUCU Scholarships for Excellence in Business and two $500 ISUCU Scholarships for Excellence in the Community Service.

“The community service award recognizes students who are going out and making a real difference in their communities,” Nawotniak said. “It is easy as a student to get so busy that they struggle to find the time to give back, but we have phenomenal students in our program who prioritize serving the University and the greater Southeast Idaho communities.” The recipients of this award were MaKenna Winnett and Adriene Pavek.

The second pair of ISUCU awards was aimed at students who are studying business in either a major or a minor and have a vision of what they want to do in the business community. This scholarship was awarded to Megan Busz and Victoria Steckline.

“These students have a vision for their careers, including innovative problem solving. They’re getting the support to create and adapt businesses here at ISU in the College of Business,” she said.

Nawotniak stressed the importance to the students of these new scholarships and other support the ISU Honors Programs receive.   

“People have the misperception that honors kids all have full ride scholarships, but the truth is they need financial support very much,” she said. “High-achieving doesn’t mean financially secure. We have students every year that have to make hard decisions about whether they have the financial means to complete their degrees, and scholarships like these can make all the difference in the world.”




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