HNU held its ninth annual Scholarship Luncheon on Wednesday, March 22, to celebrate the philanthropic contributions of donors and to recognize the success of student scholarship recipients. Alumni, friends, faculty, and staff attended the event, along with many of the HNU students who had received scholarships this academic year.
Vice President for Mission Effectiveness Sister Carol Sellman delivered the welcoming remarks at the event, and HNU Interim President Jeanie Watson, PhD, expressed how thankful the University was for the continued support of donors and friends. “As I’m sure the students sitting at your tables can tell you, the scholarships that you have established make all the difference in their ability to attend Holy Names,” Watson said. “So, on behalf of our students and the University, I want to thank you for your generosity. You really do make a significant difference in the lives of others in this world.”
Guillermo Estrada, a senior Latin American and Latino/a studies major and student scholarship recipient, spoke about his journey to HNU. He said that he left home 16 years ago to come to the U.S., promising his mother that he was going to learn English and attend school. Estrada attended another university before HNU, but left that institution feeling defeated and disappointed. “I transferred to HNU from a big school in the next set of hills northwest of this campus,” he said. “This transition was difficult. Ego was crushing my spirit. In the fall of 2015, HNU responded to my application for admission with a very generous opportunity. I was still healing from my wounds. The words of encouragement from my friends and the promise I made to my mother gave me the strength to give myself another opportunity. HNU is one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had in my life: the many black and brown faces walking on campus, proud to be the first members of their families to go to college; the broken English of some of us showing no fear to express our imperfections.”
Estrada expressed the gratitude he and his fellow scholarship recipients had for all HNU donors. “It is good people like you that make our stories possible. It is your compassion that gives some of us the opportunity to lead a life of dignity. It is the generosity of good people like you in which many of us have found the freedom to know our true selves and purposes in life. Please know that your support has given me, and all the students at HNU, the courage and determination we need to succeed and that I felt when I told my mother I was leaving 16 years ago.”