From left: Terri Brelsford, Tucker Jones (Voiland), Amir Sepehri (CCB), Carl Bunge (alum and last year’s recipient), Madison Armstrong (Honors), Kathryn Sutherland (Honors), Sam Rykken (Voiland), and Duane Brelsford.
Brelsford Scholarship Covers Rent, Encourages Students to Give Back
Amir Sepehri, a Carson College of Business doctoral candidate, and four other WSU students checked off rent from their college expense sheets this year thanks to the generosity of Duane (’81 Humanities) and Terri Brelsford.
Duane is the president and managing member of Corporate Pointe Developers LLC, headquartered in Pullman. He and Terri provide annual housing scholarships to the Carson College of Business, Honors College, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, and Athletics, who then award the scholarship to deserving students in need of support.
Each recipient is granted a two bedroom apartment for a full academic year and is only responsible for utilities and services. The apartments are located close to campus in different complexes owned by the Brelsfords.
Housing support attracts top scholars
The Carson College of Business rotates the housing scholarship among its doctoral programs and awards it to graduate students who demonstrate financial need and academic excellence. This year, the Department of Marketing and International Business awarded the scholarship to Sepehri, an international student from Iran who is studying consumer behavior and dreams of becoming a researcher and educator.
“In particular, as a newcomer and as an international student, it was a great relief knowing that when I arrived in the states, I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to rent,” says Sepehri. “It helps me balance my finances much better and eliminates all those concerns that arise from having to pay rent. Altogether, it helps me to concentrate on fulfilling both my own and the school’s expectations.”
Coug community erases homesickness
Before coming to WSU, Sepehri was an innovation project manager at the Parsian Bank’s Business Innovation Center. He graduated with an MBA from the Sharif University of Technology in 2014, and after experiencing some behavioral and consumer decision-making courses, decided to pursue his Ph.D. in consumer behavior. He was drawn to the research of the faculty within the Carson College, especially to that of marketing professors David Sprott, associate dean, and Jeff Joireman.
“Being a Carson Coug gives you a sense of involvement. It’s really great to feel that you’re a member of a united community,” Sepehri says. I’ve been here for only one semester, but the people are very kind, supportive, and considerate. I’ve been invited to the Brelsford’s, the Sprott’s, and the Joireman’s since I arrived in the U.S., and all of them were great experiences. I was treated with respect, and I don’t feel like I’m many, many miles from home.”
Home is where the heart is
Before the start of the spring semester, the Brelsfords host all of the scholarship recipients and college deans at their home for a meal and a chance to get to know each other.
“There is no greater satisfaction than to meet the young, extremely talented, and dedicated students when they come to the scholarship dinner at our home,” says Duane. “These students are so thankful, humble, and genuinely honored to receive our housing scholarships. I am extremely proud to be a Cougar and feel blessed every day that Terri and I have been able to be such a positive influence in the lives of so many young individuals.”
When hosting the students, Duane not only shares his home, but also his heart.
“At dinner, I share my experience at WSU and the deep rooted love I have for this institution,” he says. “I ask students to remember their humble beginnings at WSU, along with the support provided through our housing scholarship, with the promise to give back to WSU when they can.”
Duane began his bachelor’s degree program at WSU in 1978, taking business and engineering classes and studying in the Honors library. His tie to WSU athletics stems from being on the cheer squad and football team. He and Terri began supporting WSU in 1998, including the Carson College. After the college was renamed in 2013 in honor of Regent Scott Carson, a man Duane greatly admires, he and Terri created the housing scholarship to help qualified students with the ever-increasing cost of housing.
“It’s very humbling and inspirational to witness the passion Mr. and Mrs. Brelsford have for the WSU community,” says Carl Bunge (’16 Engineering & Architecture), a 2015 scholarship recipient. “The strength of the Cougar family community is incredible. The scholarship is a complete act of kindness that removes the burden and allows students to finish goals.”
Other 2016 scholarship recipients included Tucker Jones and Sam Rykken, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, and Madison Armstrong and Kathryn Sutherland, Honors College.