Celebrating a milestone by making a difference to students

Celebrating a milestone by making a difference to students
Accounting major Sean Eliason was one of the first recipients of the Crestmark Bank scholarship.

Crestmark Bank is celebrating its 20th anniversary by creating a $100,000 scholarship fund to support Oakland business students for the next five years.

Working late, making time for homework, being on campus for those extra study sessions, juggling family commitments, going to class and then finding a few hours in between to sleep – for many students today, that’s what it takes to earn a world-class education.

Oakland University School of Business students are no different. This year, though, they have a new advocate in the form of Crestmark Bank. This past summer, Crestmark announced it would celebrate its 20th anniversary by creating a $100,000 scholarship fund to support Oakland business students for the next five years. Accounting students Tasha Beller and Sean Eliason were the first recipients, each receiving a $10,000 scholarship.


Crestmark’s generosity is already making a difference for these hard-working students, both of whom have jobs that take more than 30 hours of their time each week, balanced on top of a full-time class load. Despite the arduous schedule, both Beller and Eliason maintain solid grade point averages.


“Education is one of the keys to success and we at Crestmark are delighted to support these students on their journey,” says David Tull, chairman and CEO of Crestmark


Lessening the burden

For Eliason, the Crestmark scholarship has brought him great comfort, helping relieve much of the stress involved in paying for college. “Since hearing that I received the scholarship, I have had a huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” he says. “With taking five classes and working 30 hours a week, it really gives me peace of mind.”

Following graduation, Eliason hopes to work for an accounting firm. He sees it as a profession that will allow him to help others while still finding fresh challenges each day. “I like the idea of helping clients and solving their issues,” he says. “To see a client succeed in their business adventures and, in turn, helping make the firm I work for thrive – at the end of the day, that will be very rewarding.”

Eliason sees the Crestmark scholarship as a further stepping-stone to that goal.  “This scholarship also will help propel me to the 150 credits that I need for the CPA exam,” he says. “I can now achieve that mark sooner.”

Beller, who also plans to sit for the CPA exam, says the Crestmark scholarship not only helps relieve financial burdens, it also is an acknowledgment of the enormous effort she has put into earning her degree. That includes working up to 45 hours a week while juggling more than 15 credit hours per semester.

For Beller, the scholarship will help pay for her three remaining semesters before graduation in December 2017. “It also will help me with my loan debt,” she says, something that weighs heavily on the minds of so many young people today. In addition to the life-changing financial benefits of the scholarship, its appearance on her resume will underscore her achievements and serve as an endorsement to future employers as she seeks to enter the CPA workforce in 2018.

For so many students, Beller included, an undergraduate degree symbolizes years of hard work and the ability to overcome even the toughest of roadblocks. Upon graduation, Beller will become the first person in her family to earn a four-year college degree – an achievement that would have been much more difficult and fraught with uncertainty without the support of Crestmark.

Beller is pleased to know that Crestmark is supporting not just her work but also the work of other School of Business students in the years ahead. “It means that students will know there are people out there who want to support education and that knowledge will help bolster them academically and financially,” she says. “This scholarship is taking care of the next generation of business men and women.”

A partner in helping others

For Crestmark leadership, the scholarships seemed the ideal way to demonstrate their company’s mission of helping others. While brainstorming ideas on how to celebrate this milestone anniversary, the scholarship idea quickly rose to the top. After 20 successful years helping small and mid-size business grow and thrive, Crestmark employees were pleased to offer similar support to students just starting out.

“The team wholeheartedly supported the idea,” says Tull. “It made perfect sense to choose Oakland University since it is located near our headquarters, we have employees who are OU graduates, we have had several interns from OU work with us and I’m a member of the Oakland University Board of Trustees.”

“We realize each OU School of Business student is a potential business leader of tomorrow,” says Tull. “In providing this opportunity, Crestmark hopes to see the students fulfill their dreams of obtaining a higher education, and know this will help them fulfill their future personal life visions.”

Check presentation for Crestmark bank scholarship
David Tull, chairman and CEO of Crestmark, right, presented the scholarship check to Angie Schmucker, Vice President, Development and Alumni Relations, left, and Dr. Michael A. Mazzeo, Dean, Oakland University School of Business Administration in August 2016.