Intl. moving company offers new business scholarship

Meredith Gasco

A new scholarship sponsored by the international moving franchise Two Men and a Truck will be offered to students in the College of Business in 2011.

Two Men and a Truck was founded by Brig and Jon Sorber, brothers and alumni of NMU. The company, which is based out of Lansing, Mich., has over 200 worldwide offices and over 1,200 trucks.

The scholarship at Northern will be the first annual scholarship offered by Two Men and a Truck, said Darice Darling, corporate communications specialist for the company. Darling said that the company has offered monetary donations to other schools and organizations in the past, but the NMU scholarship will be the first to be given yearly.

“They focused on this one because both Brig and Jon are graduates from NMU,” Darling said.

The scholarship is set to begin awarding financial aid to students next year, but the amount of scholarships given and the size of the financial contribution will vary. A separate account devoted to money for the scholarship will be set up by the company, Darling said.

“Based on the earnings from that account, it will determine the amount of the scholarship and how many scholarships will be given annually,” she said.

The scholarship will be available to juniors and seniors in the College of Business who are already receiving other financial aid. Recipients of the scholarship will be determined by a selection committee, but all candidates must have at least a 2.5 GPA and have graduated from a high school in the Upper Peninsula.

According to Darling, Two Men and a Truck has a history of philanthropy. The company has contributed over $1 million from its main office to different schools and organizations. The other franchise offices have given approximately $1.5 million each year.

“We thought this would be a good way to give back to the university,” said Brig Sorber, president and CEO of Two Men and a Truck.

Sorber said he didn’t know what he wanted to do when he began looking at colleges. Growing up in East Lansing put him in the “shadow of MSU,” Sorber said.

“I wanted to experience something different,” he said.

It was during Sorber’s time at NMU that he met his wife, who was putting herself through school. Sorber said his wife helped inspire the decision to start a scholarship for NMU students.

“We wanted to help fund students who may be in my wife’s situation,” Sorber said. “I’ve learned in business that when you give something, you get something in return.”

Martha Haynes, executive director of the NMU Foundation, gives credit to President Wong for inspiring the scholarship. Brig and Jon Sorber visited NMU last year to give a presentation to the Marquette Michigan Economic Club. Their presentation discussed corporate contributions to charity. According to Haynes, President Wong approached the Sorbers after the presentation.

“The president said to them afterward, ‘You give, but you haven’t given to Northern,’” Haynes said. “[The scholarship] didn’t come to us completely unsolicited.”

Sorber said his visit to NMU last year impressed him.

“The school has really evolved since I went there,” Sorber said.

Since his time at NMU, the campus has evolved and the curriculum has become more sophisticated, he said. Sorber credited President Wong’s leadership for the university’s improvement.

“I really felt these were dollars that are going to a really good cause,” he said.

Sorber couldn’t predict how many dollars would be contributed in scholarships.

“We’ll have to see how business goes,” Sorber said. He added that he wants the scholarship to continue at NMU. “Personally, I can speak for my wife and I. As long as we’re blessed we’ll continue to fund it,” Sorber said.

“The scholarship is not yet endowed,” said  Jamal Rashed, the dean of the college of business.  This means the scholarship does not currently have any money available. Once the donation comes through from Two Men and a Truck, the scholarship will be endowed and ready to award financial aid for the year 2011.