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Evangel graduates awarded $25,000 on The TODAY Show

Published on Jun 16, 2016 by Paul K. Logsdon



SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Popular NBC weatherman Al Roker presented two Evangel University graduates with a $25,000 check live on The TODAY Show on Thursday morning, June 16, 2016.

Ian and Jendi (Heist) Sansoni received the check as winners of the “Twenty-Five Grand Plan“ in front of a large gathering of supportive family and friends.

Both are 2005 Evangel graduates.

Evangel graduates Ian and Jendi Sansoni on The TODAY Show. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

NBC reported on Thursday, “Jendi Sansoni and her husband Ian struggled with fertility for 5 years before they turned to adoption and welcomed their daughter Mylania, who’s now 2, and now plan to adopt her biological baby brother, due this fall. The couple have taken out loans to support their family while living in tight quarters, but their dream is to move into a bigger home with a backyard.”

An adoption cost about $35,000, of which we planned to pay for by using a combination of our savings and a loan,” explained Ian. “Receiving the $25,000 will minimize the need to take out an adoption loan.”


TODAY and their sponsor, State Farm, presented the “Twenty-Five Grand Plan” contest. According to NBC, viewers were asked to “submit a photo that best illustrates the milestone you’re facing. Please also tell us in a few words how the money could help you plan for that future.”

Ian and Jendi grew up in Harrisburg, Pa.

NBC’s Al Roker presented $25,000 to Evangel graduates Ian and Jendi Sansoni on The TODAY Show. // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

• As a student at Evangel, Ian was an RA in Scott Hall and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. He currently serves as deputy director of the Social Services Department, for Prince William County Government in Manassas, Va.

• Jendi served as an RA in Walther Hall and earned a B.S. in Special Education, with a minor in Elementary Education. She taught for a number of years, and is now a stay-at-home mom and wife.

“They were both just as amazing back then they are now — the sweetest, most kind and genuine people you’ve ever met,” said long-time friend Stephanie (Barnes ’06) Wheeler.