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Alumni E-News

Students thank scholarship donors for financial assistance

Lake Forest College is well-known for all of the options available to students to receive financial aid and make their dreams possible—and not without reason. MONEY magazine ranks Lake Forest College as #24 out of more than 650 other schools on their list of “Most Affordable Colleges.”

In addition to financial aid given based on need, the College has a wealth of scholarships that students are eligible for throughout their college careers. These funds are made available to students through the generosity of Lake Forest College alumni and benefactors—all of whom are committed to helping students achieve their goals.

Of particular prominence in the Lake Forest College community is Margaret “Peggy” Vail, who chose to direct her generosity toward the College because she had lived in the neighborhood for a long time.

“My husband, Jim Vail, and I agreed that the most important thing you could give your children is a good education,” said Mrs. Vail. “Each of us had received such a gift from our own parents, neither of whom were people of great means at the time. They, in turn, had been given such an advantage by their own parents.  And so we had both grown up in families where … learning was prized. It was our wish to share our good fortune with other young people who had the ambition and dedication to receive a college degree.”

In order to accomplish this wish, Mrs. Vail offers funding for the McGaw and Grew scholarships.

The Grew Scholarship provides full tuition costs to a Japanese student selected by the Grew Foundation. Mrs. Vail established a scholarship to give the Grew Scholars extra funds to help them with their additional living costs while at the College.

The McGaw Scholarships are awarded annually to assist one junior and one senior with their tuition costs. McGaw scholars are selected based on financial need and their demonstration of leadership abilities and academic excellence. This year’s McGaw Scholars were Chelsea McDonald ’17 and Rachel Lertzman ’16.

Each year, Mrs. Vail enjoys a lunch with the scholarship recipients.

“I love meeting them,” she said. “It’s always interesting to me to hear what people are studying and what their plans for the future are…I admire these two young women. Rachel is a livewire, and Chelsea is working on Tammy Duckworth’s campaign for Senate through In The Loop and they both did their term abroad in Africa.”

The scholarship recipients are equally grateful for the opportunity to meet with Mrs. Vail and express their appreciation for being selected.

“[Being awarded the McGaw Scholarship] is not simply a financial blessing, but an emotional honor and I am still trying to internalize my excitement and gratefulness. I have worked incredibly hard at the College and this award reaffirms that my efforts are not going unnoticed, which is not something that happens to me every day,” said Lertzman.

McDonald and Lertzman are just two of many students whose hard work is being recognized and rewarded by scholarship donors. The recipients of other awards recently held a brunch to thank alumni and benefactors for their gifts to the College.

In his welcome speech at the Scholarship Brunch, Pulkit Diwan ’16 attributed to donor generosity all of the opportunities he had while at Lake Forest College, including events, diverse classes, caring mentors, and his personal growth.

“To be honest,” Diwan said, “my success is because of you. I am able to see the worth of my degree because of you. And I am standing here because of you. Without your faith, an education in the United States would not have been possible for me. So, thank you. On behalf of other Foresters, we all appreciate your immense faith in the Forester family and I hope we meet each and every expectation you set for us. I promise that wherever we are, we will never forget your kindness. Rather, we will use your act to inspire ourselves to help others, just like you did.”

Lake Forest College students are immensely grateful for all of the support that they receive from everyone who is a part of the Forester Family–whether they are classmates, parents, professors, or friends of the College who hope to have a positive impact in the lives of students. Without the caring of those close to them or the strangers who help them pay for their tuition, for many students the dream of a college degree and a brighter future would not be possible.

“Living across from…South Campus of Lake Forest College turned our attention to it as a place we could direct the funds to provide [financial] assistance to students,” said Mrs. Vail. “Our hope is that such funds will enable them to achieve…success in their future careers, as well as a path to lifelong learning that enriches their lives in every way; it has done just that for us.”

— Story by Jane Smith ’19