Jul 30, 2013

Stepping Up for Future Generations

Growing tuition fees. A troubling job market. Mounting student loan debt. These are the realities of higher education, which can play a significant role in the decisions young adults make when deciding how to pursue their education.

Those of us who graduated decades ago didn't face these same challenges. Higher education was, at that time, more attainable. More affordable. The job market was more stable. In short: we were lucky.

Today, we cannot be complacent about the extreme challenges college students face. For those of us who have experienced how a college education can put you on the trajectory to success, we have a responsibility to empower future generations by giving them access to the same opportunities we had.

Universities are sources of innovation. Universities are where entrepreneurial spirits are encouraged, groundbreaking findings are discovered, minds are opened and critical thinking skills are honed.

As we experience our own successes, we must remember to invest in the future through higher education. When we entrust funds to a center of learning we provide resources so that the next generation can pick up the baton and run with it. We are setting the stage for even greater accomplishments.

This is a theme I've called upon many times in the last several years, as I've served as the Washington, D.C. campaign committee chair for the University of Cincinnati’s billion-dollar Proudly Cincinnati campaign. As a 1982 graduate of the university’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), I’m proud of UC as an institution and as the place that helped me shape my future. I surely wouldn't be where I am today were it not for UC.

And I am not alone. I've had the opportunity to engage with hundreds of UC alumni in the region, and I've realized we have one thing in common: deep respect for our alma mater. In sparking those fond memories of our formative college years, it became clear for many, the time to give back is now.

When talking with donors who have generously contributed to the University of Cincinnati, it is obvious they see the bigger picture. A gift to a great university makes it possible for students to succeed and helps the university attract and retain the best teaching talent. Higher education is a cause that undoubtedly deserves our support.

With the help of my fellow D.C.-based alumni, the University of Cincinnati recently reached its billion-dollar fundraising goal. These donations will accelerate the university’s transformation into a world-class institution. I am proud of what the university has accomplished and what I and my compatriots have been able to contribute. We believe in the work that is happening on the campus and beyond.

While the system of higher education has issues that need to be overcome, it is not in our best interests to stand idle. So I would challenge all readers of this post to do what many UC grads have done. Take up the responsibility to support your alma mater. Heed the call to support the university that supported you in your most formative adult years. You may not even fathom what your investment can make possible.

About the Author
DAAP Alumnus Todd DeGarmo
Todd DeGarmo is a University of Cincinnati alumnus (DAAP ’82) and served as the Proudly Cincinnati Washington, D.C. Campaign Committee Chair. He has been a UC Foundation Trustee since 2008. DeGarmo is the principal and CEO of STUDIOS Architecture, an international design practice recognized for innovation in both buildings and interiors.

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