By choosing to support LSA in this season of giving, you help provide the resources for the College to attract engaged, high-achieving students who will energize campus with their insights and unique perspectives. You also invest in the promise of the liberal arts: the idea that a powerful, pragmatic, broad education can transform hearts and minds, can solve problems in an ever-changing world, and can yield ideas and innovation across every discipline.
Here are five stories giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the impact of giving on both students and the victors who support them.
Photo courtesy of Allison Epstein
Allison Epstein (’14) comes from a middle-class family. When her older sister went to college without significant financial aid, Epstein got a first-hand look at how taking on debt can limit your options.
But Epstein received a Sidney J. and Irene Shipman Scholarship from the College of LSA, an award that enabled her to keep her attention trained on her studies.
“I got to study abroad, which was such a transformative experience for me,” she says. “While I was in Northern Ireland, I started to see how I could be a writer, which is what I’ve always wanted to be.”
Photo courtesy of Michael Chrzan
LSA senior Michael Chrzan was thrilled to receive a highly competitive internship at Breakthrough New York, a Brooklyn school whose focus is on helping high-potential students from lower income families attend four-year universities. One student in particular whom Chrzan mentored went through a dramatic change. At the end of the summer, she gave him a card to thank him.
“She thanked me for not giving up on her, and she told me that she knew I cared because I didn't let her not try. I still have the card on my wall,” he says.
But the experience not only allowed Chrzan to make a positive impact on students. It also changed his outlook on his own life and career.
“It showed me that I was not only able to teach, but that I’m good at it,” he says.
Michigan at Michigan
Photo courtesy of Peter Schweitzer
Peter Schweitzer (’61) applied his LSA education to careers at such big companies as General Foods and Burger King, and he eventually summited as chief executive officer at the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson. He’s a man who knows something about success, and that knowledge inspired him to support Michigan’s promising young students through scholarships.
I want to reach kids from Escanaba, Petoskey, Holland, Kalamazoo,” he says, “kids for whom being at Michigan would open new worlds.“
He remembers one scholarship student from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in particular. “I met him as a freshman—he was mild and meek. When I saw him a year later he’d grown a long beard—something serious had happened to him. And I thought, uh-oh. He went on and became a big programmer out at Microsoft. He went beyond what I did. He experimented and tested himself, and his experience here helped him succeed.”
Photo courtesy of Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Martha Potere (’05) studied at the Goethe Institut in Munich in 2004, exploring the city and the German language thanks to a scholarship and support donated by DeVere and Zita Sturm (above).
Potere says that getting support from the Sturms encouraged her to strive at the Geothe Institut. That personal standard of excellence and hard work has pushed Potere to find success in positions on three continents and three different time zones. Her mission began at Michigan.
“My time as an undergraduate was such a turning point. It’s where I learned what my place is in the world and what my relationship is to other people.
“I got turned from being neutral to being impassioned about equality. I just really wanted to do positive work every day. It feels awesome, doing that.”
The Power of All Gifts
Photo courtesy of Sophia Holley Ellis
Sophia Holley Ellis (’49, M.S. ’50, M.A. ’64) attended U-M with the help of financial support, and she started her own scholarship fund with a $25,000 gift. The Sophia Holley Ellis Scholarship endowment, which gives priority to LSA students from Detroit with financial need, awarded its first scholarship in the 2011-12 academic year.
Ellis (above right, with the first scholarship recipient, Antoyrie Green), who taught in Detroit public schools for 56 years before retiring in 2006, believes that all gifts can make a big difference.
“A person who gives a small gift has the same personal thrill as someone like Stephen Ross, who gives millions,” Ellis says. “You have the thrill of touching the present in the moment you give the gift, and you know you touch the future forever.”