Elmhurst College is excited to share a $100,000 challenge match that was recently announced during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend. Leadership donors of the College have come together to issue a challenge to all alumni and friends of the Elmhurst Community. Between now and December 31, all gifts to the Elmhurst College Scholarship Fund will be matched dollar for dollar (up to $100,000). Every gift is doubled!
Elmhurst College believes an education is the greatest gift. Whether they study nursing or music, intercultural studies or business, Elmhurst College students strive to make the world a better place.
Most of our students rely on scholarships and financial aid to make their education possible, and many are the first in their families to attend college. All are talented, driven and poised for lives of purpose.
Every Elmhurst College student past and present has benefited from some type of support along the way. Each one is proof that generosity has the power to change lives.
There’s never been a more important time to make a gift to the Elmhurst College Scholarship Fund. Invest in our students and their futures.
All gifts, of all sizes, are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your support.
When Natalia Bedtke received a promotional postcard from Elmhurst College back in high school, her first thought was, “No way.” Natalia had set her sights on a Big 10 school far from home. “But five minutes on campus and I absolutely fell in love,” she explains. “It felt like home.”
Natalia, a sophomore with a double major in secondary education and Spanish, is making the most of her new home. Among other activities, she manages the men’s basketball team (or, as she calls it, “a brotherhood of 30 guys who have my back”). She also shares her love of the College with new and incoming students in her roles as an orientation student leader and a student ambassador.
The grateful recipient of several scholarships, Natalia appreciates that without a scholarship, she’d be unable to attend Elmhurst.
“No matter what you do in this life or how long you live, you can’t take it with you,” Natalia says. “It’s about the imprint you leave. I’m so excited to make my mark here and to pay it forward to the students who attend after me.”
With a close-knit family and a tendency toward shyness, Estrella Vargas knew she wanted to attend a small college close to home. So she chose Elmhurst—and her world opened up.
“Coming here, trying different classes and meeting inspirational faculty pointed me in exciting directions,” she says. She ultimately decided to pursue three majors—intercultural studies, political science and urban studies. Even more transformational, she went far beyond her comfort zone and traveled to Prague, where her career goals came into focus.
In Prague, Estrella’s group visited the American embassy and met a diplomat. “I realized I’d like to be a diplomat, too, to help improve people’s lives through policy,” she says.
Estrella is proud to have received several scholarships and feels indebted to the donors who made it possible for her to attend Elmhurst and pursue her dreams.
“I’ve met such important friends and mentors here,” she says. “My European trip crystalized my studies and career. All of that was possible because people who didn’t even know me believed in my potential.”
Callen Williams has a commitment to advocating on behalf of marginalized groups and individuals. A native New Yorker, he chose Elmhurst College largely because of the College’s connection with the UCC, a denomination that has a strong focus on social justice.
“I was raised attending a UCC church and school,” says Callen. “Our pastor admired Elmhurst College and recommended it to me.”
At Elmhurst, Callen has found plenty of support for his interest in social justice. An intercultural studies major, he also finds time to be a member of the Black Student Union and HABLAMOS. He’s also collaborating with staff members to plan a student tour of Civil Rights landmarks next summer. “When we actually see these landmarks, it will raise our awareness and deepen our connection to these truly transformative events in our history,” he says.
After graduating, Callen hopes to continue his education and maybe even earn a Ph.D. His long-term goals include working with companies and organizations to help them reach underserved populations.
Callen says he’s grateful for the scholarships that made it possible for him to attend Elmhurst College. “Without scholarships, there would be no Elmhurst College for me,” he says. “And without Elmhurst College, I might never have found my passion to advocate on behalf of others.”
An alumna from a high school on Chicago’s southeast side, LaVaun Bowling worked hard and earned a 3.0 GPA. Her dedication has paid off. A junior, she is proud of her achievements and grateful for the scholarships that made Elmhurst College possible for her. “I’m here because of the generosity of people I’ve never even met.”
At Elmhurst, her eyes were opened to understanding that “despite our different backgrounds and upbringings, we are all here together. We are all unique, but united in our journey.”
LaVaun is studying biology and she plans to pursue a career in biomedical laboratory sciences—conducting research, diagnosing illness, and assisting patients.
“I aim to help, even save people’s lives,” she says. “I hope that the people who made my scholarship possible take pride knowing their gift truly changed my life, and through the career I’ve chosen, possibly many more.”
From the moment Joe Zaccagnini stepped foot on campus, he knew Elmhurst was the school for him—the outstanding nursing program, the close-knit faculty and student body. And, as a graduate from a high school class of only 100, he sought a small college experience, and instantly felt safe; part of a community.
Joe was raised in a working-class family on Chicago’s northwest side. It was his jobs as lifeguard and later pool manager that made him realize his passion and gift for helping people. “Seeing a really scared kid become calm and smiling…. I understood a desk job wasn’t for me,” he explains. “I wanted to do something in medicine. Nursing is perfect because I’ll have the chance to really get to know my patients.”
In addition to his own work, his father took on a night job, but without scholarships, community college likely would have been Joe’s only option. With gratitude, he says “my dream of becoming an ICU or ER nurse would have been just that: a dream.” Instead, he’ll complete his nursing degree in the spring.
“Nothing is more important to me than making my parents proud; proving I’m worthy of my scholarship. I am deeply aware of my good fortune.”