Stacey Bradley wasn’t sure she could ever come back to UTC.
After two years in the Women’s Studies program, money was so tight she had to take off the 2015-16 academic year. Even after, she figured it would take another year to save enough money, and her hopes of college fizzled.
Then a UTC scholarship came into her life, $3,000 that made it possible for her to enroll again.
“I had no plans of coming back, so it was life-changing,” says Bradley, who plans to graduate next summer.
Bradley was one of about 200 students who attended the Scholarship Luncheon 2017, held Wednesday in Maclellan Gym. The event, now in its second year, gives students who receive scholarships a chance to meet the people responsible for donating the money and personally thank them.
“This is the one of the best days; I put this up there with convocation and graduation. It’s time to celebrate,” Bryan Rowland, vice chancellor for Development and Alumni Affairs, said from the luncheon’s podium.
Senior Tony Amegnaglo, an electrical engineering student and native of West Africa, says money from the Thomas J. Kline Scholarship helped him far beyond school.
“I just got my family moved over here from West Africa,” he says. “I take care of my Dad; I take care of my Mom; I take care of my sister; they’re not working. I have a wife; I have a son. By this scholarship, I can not only have that piece of mind knowing that these things are covered to focus on school, I just believe that they are teaching me to give back. When I make it, I shall be mindful that folks have actually been generous to give me that boost. It means a lot.”
Seeing the students and feeling their excitement is one of the payoffs for David Kazanowski who, along with his wife Theresa, established the Ann Kazanowski Berg Scholarship Fund in honor of his late sister, a graduate of UTC’s College of Education. The scholarship, started four years ago, was endowed with $75,000 to be awarded over five years.
“Education has always been a high priority and a value simply because it’s something that you can’t take away from somebody,” Kazanowski says at the luncheon. “It’s both pleasing and refreshing to see the students here, the energy that they bring. They’re so career-directed, focused, well-rounded.”
UTC Chancellor Emeritus and donor Fred Obear says coming face-to-face with a student who has benefited from your donation is a special moment.
“The reality that there’s really a living, breathing individual who benefits from the contributions you’ve made to the university is really totally significant here because oftentimes you make a gift and you never know who the recipient is, but this brings the two together,” he says.
Gabriela Zaragoza, a junior in art education, receives $500 per semester from the Captain Daphne Marjorie Painter Memorial Art Education Endowment Fund. Paying for her tuition “would have been very, very hard” without the scholarship, she says.
She won the scholarship by entering her art portfolio in Department of Art competition, but she went back and forth on whether to put her work out there for judgment.
“I almost didn’t want to enter it because I was so nervous. It was the first time I’d entered for a scholarship like that,” she says.
She’s entering the scholarship competition again, saying she’s “a little less nervous, but there’s some great students in here, so you never know.”