Student Journeys Enriched through Alumni Generosity

by Jeremy Shapiro

The exceptional liberal arts education that Grinnell College provides gives life to ideas and has a lasting impact. The Grinnell student experience has been supported by donors in many shapes and forms for generations, upholding Grinnell’s long tradition of access. Students benefit from several distinct aspects of giving during their four-year journeys. To illustrate how this generosity corresponds to an educational journey, we put together a map to show how a hypothetical student might be supported through alumni giving. We then asked alums who made such gifts to share what inspired them to give to their alma mater.

The theoretical student was awarded a need-based scholarship after being admitted to Grinnell. Andrés Chang is one of numerous donors who contribute to these scholarships.

“Strangers decided to fund my education (with no guarantee of success), and the confidence they instilled in me inspires me to also pay it forward to others who advance global change.”
Andrés Chang ’05, Washington, DC

A long-distance runner for the cross country and track teams, the student received support from the Annette Campbell Maxson ’86 Athletics Fund.

“Due to our family’s financial situation when I was starting college, I was unsure if I would be able to attend the college of my choice. Grinnell’s financial aid package allowed me to attend and experience an amazing educational opportunity. It is my hope that with my donation, others will have the same opportunity.”
Annette Maxson ’86, Bainbridge Island, Washington

The model student received a summer internship offer, but it was unpaid. Fortunately, they were able to accept because of financial assistance from the Jay Dick ’93 and Charles Salvetti Fund for Dreamers and Doers — one of many internship funds set up by alums.

“My husband and I give to Grinnell because current students need every opportunity to learn and understand the world. I benefited from the experiences obtained as a student; so now it is my responsibility to help those currently attending the College to make sure they have every opportunity to succeed. I know Grinnellians go on to achieve great things that make the world a better place.”
Jay Dick ’93, Alexandria, Virginia

As a strong advocate for the College’s LGBTQIA+ community, the student was awarded the Ihrig-Morrison Endowed Scholarship.

“My Grinnell experience fundamentally changed the trajectory of my life. Every day, I draw on what Grinnell gave me — lessons, ethics, and relationships. This was only possible by the generosity of others whom I will never know. Now I have the privilege to support this for future Grinnellians. That is why I give.”
Scott Ihrig ’94, San Francisco, California

The student took part in numerous student organizations while on campus, including being involved with Black Student Union (BSU). Laika Lewis is among the alums who support BSU (formerly called Concerned Black Students).

“I’m inspired to give and engage with Grinnell as an alum to serve the next generation of students as they shape into Grinnellians who highly impact and challenge society and the global community. The footprint of Grinnell is seen throughout all corners of the world and that is a legacy I will continue to support.”
Laika Lewis ’17, Rochester, Minnesota

As a physics major, the student was excited to engage in summer research with a faculty member before their senior year. They were named a Carol and Tom Cech Research Scholar, which provided a Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) research stipend, an academic year scholarship, and travel funding for an off-campus research presentation.

“It’s mostly about giving back. Carol and I had a great science education at Grinnell, and we want to help make sure that future students have the same opportunity.”
Tom Cech ’70, Boulder, Colorado

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