Donors and students came together in Alumni Hall at our annual Scholarship Luncheon to share a meal together and to celebrate a culture of philanthropy that helps expand opportunities for a wide range of Lesley students. Some 70 percent of full-time Lesley undergraduates receive financial aid, and scholarships play a vital role in supporting students across the university.
Faculty Emerita and donor Carol Streit described how she and her siblings established a scholarship fund at Lesley to honor their mother’s legacy as a math teacher. Initially they targeted the scholarship towards undergraduate students who intended to pursue careers teaching math, but after 10 years or so they redirected that scholarship towards the Threshold Program.
“I’ve been associated with Lesley for some 40 years and now proudly as a faculty emerita,” Streit explained. “I love this place, I particularly love the Threshold Program. I wish this scholarship was valued at a million dollars — and I’m sure you do too — but I do know that my mother would be very proud of the way each year the proceeds of the scholarship make life just a little bit better for some extraordinary young men and women.”
Streit introduced two scholarship recipients, Justin Rojos and Victor DeVaul who received funds towards their transition year and towards an international trip for Threshold alumni.
“Being a recipient of the scholarship meant the world to me,” said DeVaul as he described the trip the students took to Germany and Switzerland. “Being able to go on the trip with all of my friends…” he explained, visibly moved. “It’s one thing to go travel by yourself or with your family, but to make these memories and to be with your friends on these trips is something that’s beyond words.”
Lesley junior and Student Government President Jose Mendoza thanked the donors for their contribution to the university and its students, observing that a scholarship not only made it possible for him to attend Lesley, but also to thrive. A first-generation college student studying business management with a minor in health, Mendoza explained that his scholarship and the support of the Urban Scholars Initiative not only helped him develop confidence, they empowered him to take on leadership roles and internship opportunities that he wouldn’t have otherwise been able to pursue.
Citing higher drop-out rates among low-income college students, he pointed out that there are still many talented Lesley students who aren’t able to live up to their full leadership potential or pursue every opportunity, burdened by financial obstacles or long commutes.
“Education isn’t only a ladder to opportunity — it’s an investment in the future,” he said, quoting Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.
He also observed that the reach of these gifts goes beyond the Lesley campus.
“Donors, you have made an incredible investment in Lesley students and in the development of future classroom leaders, business leaders, artists, counselors, researchers and more. But it’s not only an investment in the students, it’s also an investment in their families, their loved ones, and the communities they’re coming from.”