The Art of Giving
Hilltopper Parents Go the Extra Mile to Support St. Edward's
The ways Hilltopper parents help transform our campus and the lives of our students are as unique as they are. We asked three families to tell us why they choose to give their time, talent and treasure to support St. Edward’s. Here, they graciously share their stories.
You volunteer your time to represent St. Edward’s at a number of college fairs near your hometown in California. What inspires you to give to the university in this way?
When our sons were exploring schools, we went to college fairs and talked to a lot of representatives from different universities. We saw many other parents at these fairs doing the same. Looking back, it would have been very helpful to talk to parents whose children were attending schools our sons were interested in. So we thought, maybe we can be ambassadors for St. Edward’s at college fairs by offering a parent's perspective.
It’s easy for us to talk about St. Edward’s. We really believe in its Catholic, Holy Cross approach to education. The learning and growth our sons have experienced at St. Edward’s is remarkable. It sometimes takes us by surprise. Like in a conversation with them over dinner that becomes a very intellectual, articulate discussion about a world event. Or their persistence in pursuing their goals: for Johnny, getting into med school, and for Jacob, landing an internship at a pharmaceutical company.
We see how much they’ve matured in their character and thinking. And so much of it points back to St. Edward’s. That’s why it’s important to us to be involved with the university.
Getting out there and sharing what we've experienced and what we know about St. Edward’s, it’s meant a lot to parents we’ve talked to. Our friends and coworkers sometimes ask: "Another college fair? Do you work for St. Edward’s?" We tell them, "No, we really enjoy giving. We love the school. Even when our boys graduate, we’ll want to keep supporting St. Edward’s.”
As managing editor for La Revista Mujer, a Spanish-language, Texas-based magazine for women, you’ve recently created several internship opportunities for students at St. Edward’s. What gave you the idea to support our students in this way?
First of all, I love St. Edward’s and so does my son. He’s excited about his major and his professors are amazing. It’s a very special community that I want to support.
I’ve been very impressed by students and alumni from St. Edward’s who I’ve encountered in the Austin business world. Their professionalism and the way they present themselves stands out. So when I identified several internship opportunities at my office, I knew I wanted to make them available to students at St. Edward’s.
Also, St. Edward’s embraces the Spanish language and has a large Hispanic student population. Many are from the cities in Texas where our magazine is distributed. Our internships can give students practical experience in producing a publication in Spanish.
Within a few weeks of posting our internships on the university’s Career and Professional Development website, I hired our first intern, Jessica Piñon ’18, a very talented Business Administration major. She’ll work with us as a translator and provide administrative support. And we’ll involve her in the whole process of creating a quarterly magazine — from preparing a database of local businesses to helping develop sales strategies for sales executives.
For parents who are able, I encourage them to hire at least one student intern. Internships help build self-confidence and a more robust set of skills and experiences students can bring to their future jobs. Giving back in this way is a win-win for students and your business.
One of many ways your family stays involved with St. Edward’s is through financial gifts. What inspires your giving, and what are some of the areas of the university you've contributed to? Why is philanthropy important to your family?
We’ve always told our children, “We want you to get our money’s worth in your education.” Sara and St. Edward’s did exactly that. The opportunities and experiences she had at St. Edward’s represent a significant value to the cost of her education.
It’s very obvious to us that Sara graduated with much more than a transcript and a diploma. Along with her academic studies, her many involvements with Student Life on campus helped her become a stronger leader and prepared her well for the job market and her graduate-level educational goals.
As for why we give to the university, a great many people and organizations gave to St. Edward’s long before our family became involved. We have both an obligation and a sense of gratitude to give what we can, when we can.
Our contributions have gone toward new buildings on campus and renovations of older ones, but we most often give to programs that support student involvement. Many of these programs offer students a broader view of the world — like a Service Break Experience where students spend a week in South Chicago interacting with economically disadvantaged children in inner-city schools, and comparing that to their own upbringing.
Philanthropy in our family is generational. We were both taught by our parents that giving is acknowledging the blessings we have in life. We taught that to our children. We’re confident they will teach the same to their children.
Learn more about the ways parents can help support St. Edward’s and our students. karind [at] stedwards.edu (Contact Karin Dicks) in the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs.
Interviews by Camille Saad