The search committee for a chief diversity and inclusion officer was tasked last November with identifying an innovative and inspiring leader who would work collaboratively to create a more welcoming, diverse, accessible and inclusive community. Nearly 200 talented individuals expressed…
Our Time Has Come scholarships propel students to success
Our Time Has Come scholarships propelstudents to successJune 08, 2004Matthew R. Snydermrsnyder@syr.edu
As she prepares to return to Syracuse University for her senior year, broadcast journalism major Isabel Lopez takes her studies just as seriously as ever. “Syracuse is no joke to me, because I want to do it all – local news, TV newsmagazines, everything in the career of a successful broadcast journalist,” she says.
“Lopez – who has been a recipient of an Our Time Has Come scholarship since her sophomore year – points out that she is not the only one to care deeply about her academic success; she says she is “ignited, inspired to work harder when I know that someone else is investing in my future.” That investment comes from the hundreds of donors who contribute to the Office of Program Development’s Our Time Has Come scholarship fund in support of high-achieving African American and Latino students. The program reached the $1 million milestone in scholarships this year, giving 67 scholarships totaling nearly $140,000 during the 2003-04 academic year based on need and ability to meet certain academic requirements. The program has awarded more than 440 scholarships since it began awarding grants in 1989.
Lopez was born in Lima, Peru and raised by her mother and grandmother after immigrating to New Jersey as a child. She cites her family’s tradition of self-reliance as well as support from SU – “I’m proud to be part of an institution where people recognize and go out of their way to meet the needs of minority students,” she says – as keys to her academic success, which has included Dean’s List honors every semester but one in her college career.
“The program means a lot to me,” says Chuck Stevens ’77 G’92, Bloomberg News editor at large. Stevens has been a supporter of Our Time Has Come since its inception. “I see the benefits of my SU experience unfolding as the years go by, and I like to help others have that same experience.” Assistant Vice President for Program Development Larry Martin says Stevens attitude is increasingly common. Martin lauds supporters like Stevens for helping SU make good on the promise held by its core value of diversity. “Black, Latino, white, corporate, private – all sorts of donors are bound together to help enhance the climate of diversity on this campus,” says Martin. “Before Our Time Has Come, many of these alumni, especially black and Latino alumni, were not connected at all – now they are among the strongest supporters of our students.”
According to Martin, Our Time Has Come is becoming a model for initiatives at institutions including Harvard, Duke and Georgetown Universities to engage alumni in support of African American and Latino students. “SU is at the forefront of this kind of program, and not only does it make these students’ lives better, it makes this University better.” To Martin, one of the greatest strengths of Our Time Has Come is that it helps the University make good on the promise held by its core value of diversity.
For Lopez, that diversity has been a vital part of her experience at SU. “I come from a unique family situation and background,” she says, “and I’ve been very fortunate to come to Syracuse – it’s been like my family away from home.” For more information on Our Time Has Come, call (315) 443-4556.