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Scholarship recipients, donors celebrate success

Masked students and President Ira K. Blake gather on the UHCL campus
From left: SGA Vice President Derek Delgado joins Daniel Garza, Valdemar Solis, UHCL President Ira K. Blake, Julia Richardson, Kendra Fernandez and Haley Lansford in a celebration with scholarship donors, alumni, UHCL administrators and friends.

Without the financial support she received through her scholarship, says University of Houston-Clear Lake graduate student Haley Lansford, she would not have been able to remain on track toward her master's degree in psychology.

In the Spring Scholarship celebration held by UH-Clear Lake's Division of University Advancement on April 29, Lansford and other scholarship recipients expressed their gratitude to university donors and friends whose donations have helped sustain their academic journeys — despite the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I love this school and receiving these funds meant a great deal to me," she said. "I love being a student, but it's hard due to financial issues, and this scholarship has certainly taken off some of that load."

Vice President of University Advancement Joe Staley said that assisting students with their financial needs to achieve their educational goals was a central mission of the university.

"That means accessibility to education is never an issue," he said. "Our donors and friends play a key role in meeting our mission and our vision."

UHCL President Ira K. Blake said that this particular celebration was among her favorites, because it brought together students who have the determination to succeed, and donors who ensure that finances are not an impermeable barrier to receiving a first-rate education.

"Alumni and friends are providing direct support to students, and by doing so, setting an example for all to emulate," she said. "When the students here are well on their way in their careers, we hope they will remember your generosity, and share elements of their success with younger Hawks, continuing your investment in UH-Clear Lake's impact on the future."

UHCL double-alumna Sue Fellman, who retired from her position as assistant director of Student Life in 2006, said she and her husband Chuck made it a priority to create three scholarships for students.

The nearest to her heart, she said, was the Anne Wilke Memorial Nursing Scholarship, in memory of her sister. The Fellman Family Environmental Management Scholarship, is in honor of their son John, who graduated in 2004, and the Sue Fellman Servant-Leadership Scholarship Endowment is in honor of Sue's service to UHCL.

"I had to work starting in the sixth grade, so I understand students who have problems with money," Sue said.

In addition to being a UHCL graduate herself, Sue said she had worked in Student Life and UHCL for many years, and their son had also graduated from UHCL with his bachelor of science in environmental science. "This is why we wanted to donate to the university," she said.

UHCL Student Government Association Vice President Derek Delgado said that without his degree, it would not be possible to achieve his goal of becoming a criminal defense attorney.

"The most significant challenge students face in reaching their dreams is paying tuition," he said. "Receiving scholarships is not just helpful. For many of us, it's how we are able to stay enrolled. We are determined to succeed, and we will demonstrate that your decision to support students is a wise one."

For more information about UHCL's available scholarships, go online.