It’s an honor for me to speak to you today.
Let me begin with how I ended up at this school in the first place. I applied to Puget Sound on a bit of a whim- because when you’re applying to thirteen schools already (as I was) what’s one more! When I came to visit campus I loved how friendly everyone was and the beautiful brick buildings, but most importantly I loved that Tacoma was far enough from home that my parents wouldn’t be dropping by for a visit unannounced, but close enough that they would still pay for me to go home at Thanksgiving.
Money really wasn’t something that I was considering when choosing a school. That’s not to say by any means that I had an unlimited amount of money at my disposal to use for tuition. As a senior in high school I had it in my mind that I was willing to go into debt, to any extent, to go to the perfect school. So as I toured many schools the tuition just wasn’t a factor I thought was worth considering.
At the time I thought I knew everything about money because I had always been a saver, putting every bit of babysitting and birthday money in the bank. My parents tried to explain what student loans would mean for my future, but I was adamant that the right school would be worth the money.
Four years later I have paid a large portion of my tuition checks each semester and have often worked three jobs in order to make that happen. I have learned that the cost of tuition really does matter when choosing a school and I am truly thankful that while I was willing to go massively into debt to go to my dream school, Puget Sound wasn’t willing to let me do that.
Without the generous aid I have received from the University I never would have had the opportunity to study Utopias and Dystopias with Bill Breitenbach, learn about the relationship between communication and Internet with Nick Brody, see Macklemore with only my fellow students, or attend a fireside dinner with President Thomas (or as we students call him, Ron Tom).
While I have been at this school I have also had the opportunity to join a variety of organizations as Rebecca mentioned. I have been an RA, led four orientation groups as a Perspectives leader, and defined my career interests through my Chief Marketing Officer position in Kappa Alpha Theta. Each of these organizations and the others I have been a part of have shaped my experience at Puget Sound.
One of the organizations that has shaped my Puget Sound experience the most is the Phonathon. You’ve probably received a call- or fifty- from us over the years and for you students in the room if I haven’t already started bugging you about your senior class gift, don’t worry your time will come! Through my time at the Phonathon though I have had the opportunity to speak with so many wonderful alumni and parents who have shared their Puget Sound experience with me and allowed me to share mine with them. I have also had the opportunity to see how important the support we receive from the alumni, parents, and friends of the University truly is.
I’m sure most of you have heard that nine out of ten students here are on financial aid and this is amazing to me. When I hear this number though, I hear that nine out of ten of my friends are able to be here because of the generosity of others.
I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to attend this University, which, even after I graduate in May, will always be my home. I never would have had the opportunity to be here if I hadn’t received support from donors like you, so on behalf of everyone in this room and all of the students who are able to be here today because of your support I would like to thank you all for your generosity.