Luncheon love: $750,000 for student scholarships

I heart UW Bothell graphic

By N.L. Sweeney
When students are unable to continue their education, it is often not because of their grades or disinterest but because of a lack of funds. To address this need, University Washington Bothell leadership began planning the I Heart UW Bothell Scholarship Luncheon in 2017. Designed as a three-year annual event, it has now come to a close.

The luncheon has proven to be the most successful fundraising event for UW Bothell.

“We have really seen our community come together around this event,” said Sean Marsh, acting vice chancellor of Advancement & External Relations. “Thanks to their work over the past three years, we have been able to raise an extraordinary $750,000 for students in need.”

Gratitude for table captains

Considering there were major unforeseen circumstances two of the three years, the event’s success is “even more extraordinary,” said Marsh. In 2019, the “snowmageddon” in the region forced more than half the registered guests to stay home. This year, the coronavirus pandemic led to its cancellation as an in-person event.

Much of the credit goes to a dedicated group of volunteers. Known as “table captains,” these faculty, staff, alumni, deans, community partners and board members helped fill the tables with people passionate about education and supporting students.

“Our table captains have been the heart and soul of this event,” said Chancellor Wolf Yeigh. “Through their outreach and advocacy, we were able to share the UW Bothell story with hundreds of people who may otherwise not have had the opportunity to invest in our talented students.”

Adds Marsh: “I cannot emphasize enough how important the table captains have been in making I Heart UW Bothell a success in all its three years. Even this year, when there were no physical tables to fill, their colleagues and friends still came through and gave.

“So many students have been able to continue their studies because of our table captains and the generous donations of their networks,” he said. “I know I don’t speak alone in saying thank you to each and every one of them.”

Hope for students

The main goal of the luncheon was to create a sustainable resource to help students continue school. For students like Richard Snyder, a 2020 Master of Education graduate, these funds can be life-changing.

“The connections and friendships that have happened during my two years at UW Bothell will carry me the rest of my professional and personal life,” he said. “Any assistance I receive that makes the financial burden easier to bear is received with gratitude and humility. I can’t thank the donors enough for this gift.”

Marsh points out that first-generation students are the most at risk for being unable to fund their education in their second, third and fourth years. “Here at UW Bothell, we have a large population of students who are the first in their families to attend a university,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we give them every opportunity to continue their education.”

Keziah May, a Computer Science & Software Engineering student graduating in 2021, was one such student. In the speech she prepared for the luncheon that was to take place in March, she wrote, “When I received this scholarship, it changed everything. Financially, it gave me a sense of security. I could pay all my bills without being worried.

“Just as important, my scholarship gave me time, and it gave me opportunities. My scholarship allowed me to not just to stay in school but to make the most of my education by truly immersing myself in all UW Bothell has to offer.”

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