Good evening everyone. My name is Vernon Gair.
I am a senior accountancy major here at UIS and I am honored to be the 2012-2013 recipient of the Kerber, Eck, and Braekel Accounting Scholarship and the Sikich LLP Accountancy Scholarship.
These scholarships have meant the world to me, as without the support of the scholarships me, and many other students would not have the opportunity to be here.
I can personally attest to the importance of scholarships in helping students not only gain the opportunity to enroll in higher education but also in helping them succeed by relieving them of excess financial burden. This impact can clearly be seen in my grade trends before and after earning scholarship support.
I followed my older sister here to UIS. Both of us came from Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep on Chicago’s South Side, where everyone was expected to go to college, but very few had the resources to do so on their own.
With two children in college I knew that there would be little help coming from home, and that I needed to work part time.
While this helped to ease the financial burden, it also took some of my focus away from my school work and seemed to have hindered my academic success.
This seemed to have the most impact on me in my sophomore year here at UIS. Coming into sophomore year I had about a 3.4 GPA while working up to 20 hrs in retail at White Oaks Mall.
During that summer I found another part-time position that would allow me to make more per hour, and work more hours. While I thought this was a great opportunity, it seriously hurt me in the classroom and in my extracurricular involvement.
During that year while working 30-36 hours my GPA was significantly lower as I struggled and came in just below 3.0. I know that this was caused by the strain of balancing work, school, and extracurricular.
Luckily by networking with an alumni that happened to work at a local accounting firm I was able to land a summer internship with Crowe Horwath.
Through this opportunity I was identified for scholarships, and able to earn enough to not work during the academic year. In my first year with no work commitments I was able to earn a 3.75 GPA and take on leadership roles in student organizations.
Without the scholarship’s support I don’t think I would have been able to make this nearly 1.0 point improvement in a year.
My story is one of many stories that show the impact donors and alumni make through their contributions and involvement on campus.
I look forward to the future when I can return to UIS what was invested in me. This is why I am thankful, and I hope that UIS will have your continued support as donors and alumni.