Numerous lives changed by donors’ gifts

For those UALR students receiving private scholarships, it goes beyond just the financial incentive to go to school – the funds provide an opportunity to make a lasting impact for future generations as well.

Stephanie Mantell said the Richard B. Dixon Scholarship she received acted as a “beacon of encouragement and hope” to continue her academic path.

“I was a high school dropout from a small community college when I transferred to UALR,” Mantell wrote. “I had to leave high school early in order to help support my family, and the stigma of being a GED recipient has haunted me ever since.”

Mantell has maintained a 4.0 GPA in college, yet some days she feels out of place. She said the scholarship was a gift that has helped her tremendously, financially and emotionally. She hopes to become a teacher and eventually give back to future students the same way she was helped.

Tonya Robertson’s family always lent a hand to others in need, which inspired the Calion, Ark., native to become a nurse. Robertson received her BSN degree this spring and plans to continue her education at the William H. Bowen School of Law.

“I have enjoyed my career in nursing as an RN and gained a vast amount of knowledge working in the high risk areas such as Labor and Delivery, Surgery, and the ER,” Robertson wrote. “I love caring for people, but I find myself wanting to care for them in a different setting.”

Robertson, who is on the Chancellor’s List, is the recipient of the Salene and Maxwell Lyons Family Endowed Scholarship. The gift will help her attend law school while caring for her two children, one of whom has autism.

“My education will not only ensure a better income and provide more opportunities for both of my children, but it will also instill in them the values of working hard and sacrificing to achieve their goals in life,” she wrote.

Like Mantell, Robertson hopes to pay it forward, helping other students achieve their goals. The cycle of giving is continuous, thanks to donors who are helping make that difference in very big ways for our UALR students.

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