Private support made my education possible

BY GUEST OPINION | MAY 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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Graduation is quickly approaching, and I often reminisce about the experience I have had the past four years as a Hawkeye. The opportunities that contribute to these memories would not have been possible without the generosity and dedication of UI alumni and supporters.

As a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship, my Iowa experience has been tremendously influenced by private support. Antonio Porchia, an Argentine poet, wrote, “I know what I have given you … I do not know what you have received.” At its face value, the scholarship gave me the opportunity to attend college without the burden of student loans. However, I received much more than that. It gave me confidence, knowing that there was someone out there who was willing to invest in my future and success. I met some of my closest friends through the Presidential Scholars’ community. These valuable friendships challenge me to push myself academically while encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone.

The scholarship opened doors to many opportunities, including conducting research in the Pediatrics Department of the UI College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, studying abroad in Greece, and inspiring me to join the Student Philanthropy Group. My involvement with that group and the UI Foundation further increased my appreciation for philanthropy as I became more aware of the powerful impact private support has had, and will continue to have, across our campus.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a group of alumni and was inspired by their dedication to and passion for Iowa. All have their reasons for giving, but I believe that they all have this in common: a dedication to student success and a belief that UI can foster that success. Phil’s Day is a time to reflect on the importance of philanthropy throughout our community. I encourage all students to take a moment today to be grateful for the opportunities private support has provided us, from scholarships to academic buildings and programs.

While I look back fondly over the past four years, I can confidently look toward the future knowing that my experience at Iowa has set a solid foundation for my success.

Leah Barshinger
Class of 2014

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