Pay it 1964WARD – Why I give back: My degree changed my life

Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships goes directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Rea Waldon“Why wouldn’t I give back to the university that changed my life,” asks Rea Waldon. “I know Union changes lives. I am one of those lives.”

The business woman and two-time alumna earned her B.A. in 1988 and returned to earn a Ph.D. in 2003. She credits Union for propelling her career.

“I didn’t fit the typical college mold, but Union had confidence in me. I was the non-traditional student, a single mother with skills, but companies wouldn’t take a chance on me because I didn’t have a degree.”

Her degrees led her to successful careers in banking, workforce development, and economic development.

“A degree is the ticket to entry for most professional careers. Union’s innovative approach is the right fit for adults with life challenges that don’t allow them to pursue education in a classroom setting. My message is you can work and complete your degree.”

Union was founded on the core principle of expanding access to higher education for non-traditional and underrepresented groups within a context of social responsibility.

“I have been able to leverage my education to provide solutions to businesses and non-profits trying to make the world a better place.”

Dr. Waldon invests in students with her donation to Union. “I am paying my degree forward by supporting individuals and making their dreams come true.”

Donor support is critical to continue to Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Pay it 1964ward today. Click here to donate.

About Rea Waldon

Dr. Waldon is the founding executive director of the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council. She served at the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati for eight years, first as senior vice president and then as chief operating officer. Prior to joining the Urban League, she was assistant vice president/community development officer for PNC Bank.

She also served Union Institute & University as a faculty advisor and affiliated faculty from 1995-2006 and Cincinnati Executive Director from 2018-2020. Dr. Waldon has been recognized as a Cincinnati Business Courier Mentor of the Year and is the recipient of the Women of Color Foundation’s ISIS Award. She is also one of Fifth Third Bank’s Profiles in Courage recipients. She is a coach and mentor to business owners and students. She is also the owner of KDDK Legacy Group that provides coaching and training to owners seeking to grow their firms.