“It changed my whole life.”
That’s how alumna Tole Kalicaj sums up what a scholarship did for her while she was working two jobs and pursuing her engineering degree at Oakland. Scholarships provide opportunities to complete the journey that a student’s drive, talent and perseverance has already begun. At the same time, they offer recognition of, and validation for, the progress already made along that path.
In this issue, we see scholarships as a way-finder for a number of paths — the counselor who might not have had the chance for an education, the athlete who discovered his life’s passion on OU’s swim team, the dancer who found herself studying with renowned choreographers in a tiny Italian coastal town, and the short-order cook who realized his dream of becoming a teacher. It’s personal determination, hard work and the support and guidance of scholarship dollars that made these stories possible.
So, what does it mean to change someone’s life — to offer the rare gift of opportunity? In this, our Campaign for OU issue, we talked with students and alumni, but we also talked with donors who told us why they chose to give to OU. You’ll read stories of people who wanted to make the opportunity of an education possible, the experience of college richer and the lessons learned in the classroom a foundation for life.
In essence, these are all stories of people reaching out to one another to make a difference. I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as we enjoyed talking with them. This special issue of OU Magazine is about generations paving the way for the next. That’s how paths become highways.