Sophomore honored at ‘Realizing the Dream’ banquet

HUNTINGTON, Ind. Huntington University sophomore Christian Cunkle was honored Saturday, Nov. 10, at the 23rd annual "Realizing the Dream" banquet.

Cunkle, a psychology major from Angola, Ind., was recognized among 30 other students from Indiana's independent colleges and universities.

Made possible by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the event recognized first-generation students attending ICI campuses, along with their inspirational teachers and families.

Each honored student received a $2,000 check to help with college costs, and each student's chosen "most influential" teacher received $1,000. Cunkle's most influential teacher was Shari Schippers at Prairie Heights High School in LaGrange, Ind.

One out of every three students on ICI campuses is a first-generation one. Generous financial aid provided by the campuses themselves, combined with state and federal grants, makes a private college education a possibility for all students in Indiana.

"We are so grateful to Lilly Endowment Inc. for making this inspirational program possible," said Richard L. Ludwick, ICI president and CEO. "We are proud, too, that because of the higher graduation rates of our ICI colleges and universities, these students are twice as likely to realize the dream of completing their degrees in four years."

Independent Colleges of Indiana is a membership association of the state's 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities. ICI member institutions enroll some 90,000 students (approximately 20 percent of all students statewide) and annually produce 35 percent of all bachelor's degrees in Indiana. Information about ICI is available at