The Development Office recently received an unsolicited gift from U alum and former U staff member Jane Smith* with the following note attached:
I am a former employee (and student) of the University. While employed there I was given the opportunity to enroll in classes and eventually earned my B.A. degree. This has been a great satisfaction to me for many years, and as I have considered the support of my supervisors and the University as a whole, I wish to express my thanks for the University in some small way. Therefore, I am enclosing a check for its use. If there is some program or organization for the development of staff members, I would like this to be added to its budget and used to assist University staff. It is not much, but is a token of my gratitude and appreciation for what I received there. Thank you.
One of the benefits Jane received while working at the U was the opportunity to participate in its tuition reduction program, where eligible employees and their families receive a 50 percent break on education costs. Encouraged by her U colleagues to return to school to get her degree, it was her access to reduced tuition that made it possible. “I’m interested in a lot of different things so it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to study,” she says. She took classes—on her lunch hour—for 15 years and eventually graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of Humanities.
Today, in keeping with Jane’s wishes, her gift will support the University’s Staff Scholarship Fund, which was established in 2003 to provide assistance to U staff members who have been in a benefitted position for at least two years. Managed by Staff Council, the fund awards up to five staff scholarships of $500 each year.
Saolo Manumaleuga Utu, a student recruitment and admissions advisor in the College of Architecture + Planning, is a recent recipient of a staff scholarship. “I was thrilled to learn of my selection for this honor and I am deeply appreciative of your support,” she writes. “This fall I will begin the Master of International Affairs and Global Enterprise Program with hopes of developing equitable and sustainable policies in the South Pacific. The financial assistance you provided this summer has helped me in paying the educational expenses for the final prerequisite to begin the program, and has allowed me to concentrate more of my time for studying. Thank you again for your generosity and support.”
Just as U students who receive scholarships often show their appreciation later in life by giving back to the U, Jane is showing her gratitude for the opportunities she received as a U employee through her gift to benefit staff. “People need to realize that the U can’t run without staff,” she says.
We agree. And a big thanks to Jane for her generosity. It is not often that donors consider the needs of staff members, so we find this gift especially thoughtful.
*Jane Smith is not her real name. She would like to remain anonymous.