Giving Back: UofM Alumni Provide Scholarship Support, Career Opportunities for UofM students
February 1, 2018 - Two enthusiastic supporters of the University of Memphis are making it easier for students to attend college through scholarships that are offered through the national trade association Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), of which their company, Signet, is a member.
David and Elizabeth Tate, partners in Signet, a company that designs and sells branded merchandise, are heavily involved in PPAI—David is a former board member of PPAI's Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF), which offers scholarships to deserving children of employees in the promotional product industry. The Foundation conducts fundraising, takes applications and awards scholarships to industry employees' children.
"I joined the board of PPEF in 2014 and immediately saw the need to create an additional scholarship model that would involve not only funding, but engagement with colleges, universities, junior colleges and specialty art schools in the back yard of the donating company," says David.
"We offer a scholarship to a needs-based student in marketing, supply chain or graphic arts with a commitment over an extended period. We also offer an internship program to that same school, attend internship fairs and job fairs, and request to give classroom lectures intended to educate students on our industry. We then help them succeed in their early careers and inform them of careers available in our industry."
At the University of Memphis, the Tates have engaged with Fogelman College of Business and Economics. "Once we offered a scholarship, we have been involved with panel discussions during the internship fair, been involved with the Veterans' internship program and been part of the Board of Advisers of Fogelman."
David Tate says the benefits have been tremendous.
"It provides another scholarship for the school to award to a worthy student; provides another business where students have internship opportunities; makes additional resources available to students; and offers up a business that is keen to hire UofM graduates."
He says students get top-notch internship opportunities with permanent placement potential that did not exist prior to their participation.
"We have a steady stream of job applicants via the online portal and direct referrals from the UofM. We are able to enlighten students to our industry and its possibilities for them. It is a win-win for students, Signet and our industry as a whole by letting them know what we are all about and by providing them with internship and future career opportunities."
Tate says while Signet carries out the program locally, other companies similar to his do so in their cities. "It is growing nationally."