How many ways can you say “thank you?” That was the job of approximately 30 scholarship students during the Transform Lives Scholarship Dinner on Thursday, October 7.
Throughout the evening, students had the opportunity to meet personally with scholarship donors, sharing their stories and progress so far at UConn. During the speaking portion of the evening, each student also shared what the gift of a scholarship meant to them and their families. With emotion and detail, many described how their scholarships eased stress and anxiety in the face of family illness, financial difficulties, and other hardships.
“This scholarship has really helped ease my financial burdens, but also has allowed me to worry less about finance and to get involved with clubs on campus,” said Jennifer Skoog, a sophomore from Monroe majoring in chemical engineering. “I’m really grateful for that, so thank you.”
Approximately 100 people were in attendance, including UConn Foundation Board members, many of whom are also scholarship donors; UConn President Susan Herbst; Provost Mun Choi; and Wayne Locust, vice president for Enrollment Planning and Management. Locust said it was important that the investment in student support continue.
“The investment is a true partnership that draws from family resources, University funds, and contributions from private donors and friends of the University,” he said. “We are very grateful for this important partnership and the fact that many students are able to benefit from the generosity and support provided by our donors and University friends.”
This gratitude was expressed by all students.
“The scholarship has really changed my life in unimaginable ways and has allowed me to focus on my academics and career,” said Riyad Twal, a senior from Stamford majoring in accounting. “Thank you so much.”
Some spoke to the importance of giving back to UConn in the future.
“The scholarship has been so meaningful to me and my family,” said Sarah Schatz, a freshman from Columbia majoring in accounting. “It really shows to me and all the other scholarship recipients how hard work really does pay off. Thank you all for investing in my future and all of our futures, and I can’t wait to pay it forward.”
UConn Foundation Board Chair Dan Toscano thanked the donors for their support and commitment to the students.
“For the donors, and people who have been able to help, thank you doesn’t do justice for how we feel about what you do,” he said. “But it’s not just about your financial resources, it is the connection you have with the students, [and] it is your willingness to be here with your time and advice and ability to help in other ways. Thank you for that.”
Since launching the $150 million Transform Lives Scholarship initiative 18 months ago, the UConn Foundation has raised $54.5 million for student support – one-third of the way to goal.
“To continue the greatness of this University, we need our partnership to continue to be strong,” said Locust. “I have every confidence that UConn will remain in its rightful place among the national leading institutions in the country.
“Are we transforming lives? Indeed we are.”