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payit 1964WARD Archives - Community | Union Institute & University

Dr. West

Pay it 1964ward – Union graduates are problem solvers

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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 go 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.

Below Dr. Charles A. West, Ph.D. 2000, reflects on Union’s unique mission to graduate problem solvers, a skill sorely needed in today’s world. Read more about Dr. West and his career as a catalyst for economic development optimization and his decision to invest in Union students below.

Dr. WestQ. You are paying your degree forward by investing in Union and its students. Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?
A. My career soared during and after obtaining my Ph.D. from Union. That is one of the reasons I am paying my degree forward. Other reasons include the Union model that offered flexibility so that a working adult with four children could obtain a Ph.D. Not only did my degree enhance my skills but I found myself in a setting that nurtured my skills. I was able to gain experiences I might not have gained elsewhere.

I can’t say enough about the faculty encouraging me to reach heights I didn’t know were possible. I also became close to my classmates and learned so much from them.

Q. What did your degree and your Union experience do for your career?
A. I doubled my consulting fee the day I completed my degree. I am in a very competitive business, the consulting business, and there is no doubt in my mind that having Ph.D. behind my name says to clients I am more qualified. Having the Union stamp and experience put me miles ahead of the competition.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?
A. I saw social justice firsthand at Union. For the most part, absent were gender and racial bias. What impressed me most about Union was the chance to be listened to and to express my opinions freely. I had the chance to hear other viewpoints and I was strengthened because of those viewpoints. I have traveled and worked all over the world and the broad-based education I received from Union prepared me to be successful.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal may have impacted you and your career?
A. I work in economic and community development in many of the areas that have been devastated by economic and climatic destruction. My training at Union improved my ability to help these communities. I worked for seven years to help rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina with the Kauffman Foundation and auto suppliers in Detroit after the Great Recession. Today I am working with the DeBruce Foundation expanding pathways to economic growth and opportunity.

Q. What else would you tell prospective donors about why they should give to Union?
A. I would tell prospective donors that investing in Union is an investment in their future by supporting an Institution focused on problem solving . Union develops individuals that are problem solvers. They are committed to improving the quality of life for all. Union graduates bring insight and understanding and a commitment to unorthodox ways so needed in today’s world.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation.
Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

About Dr. West.

Dr. Charles A. West believes that a more innovative integration of economic development, workforce development and entrepreneurship could profoundly impact individuals and communities across this country. He is ecstatic to be a part of The DeBruce Foundation team that is committed to tackling the same issues that are dear to him.

Dr. West is a catalyst for economic development optimization because of his multifaceted experiences. From the halls of academe, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in accounting; an M.B.A. in finance; and Ph.D. in entrepreneurship. He honed his experiential base in the laboratories of the streets where he managed economic development and workforce development programs. After leaving, Dr. West served as an economic development consultant to federal and state agencies as well as nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Dr. West exposed young minds to entrepreneurship and was challenged to demonstrate the efficacy of his teachings while a college professor. Partially as a result, he spent several years heading a management group that bought, grew and sold franchises. Afterward, Dr. West began the journey of integrating his knowledge and experiences into the most successful training program for entrepreneurs in the country. The program served several thousand individuals and had a sizeable economic impact. Dr. West has authored or co-authored books in each chapter of his life to provide learning experiences for others. These books include 7 Secrets of the Gig Gurus: A Toolkit for the Freelance Gig Economy, LESSONS. (A contemporary African-American novel), How To Understand and Secure a Surety Construction Bond, Tonight You Can Be in Business for Yourself, and Black Enterprise, Inc.: Case Studies of a New Experiment.

Tangela Boyd, Ph.D. student

Pay it 1964ward – Doctoral student working to educate underserved populations in lactation

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The Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964ward campaign is underway and is already making a difference in the lives of our students. At Union, 100 percent of funds that donors designate to scholarships go directly to the student.

Scholarship recipient Tangela L. Boyd is passionate about using her Ph.D. to help bring about change for more perinatal education for black women. Her vision is to see black women gain more access to breastfeeding programs.

Tangela is an affiliate faculty member in the UI&U Maternal Child Health in Human Lactation degree program and a graduate of Union’s Master of Arts degree with a major in Health & Wellness and a concentration in Human Lactation. In addition, she is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), Certified Lactation Educator (CLE), Certified Childbirth Educator (CCCE), and Certified Postpartum Doula (CPD) who has a passion for working with breastfeeding mothers. She also is a member of United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA).

Tangela Boyd, Ph.D. studentIn the Q & A below, Tangela discusses her plans to use her Ph.D. to transform lives and communities by helping to eliminate maternal mortality among black women.

Q. How has the scholarship you received impacted your academic career?
A. My scholarship encourages me to keep moving forward with my education. It confirms my investment in Union and Union’s investment in me.

I’m the mom of four sons, a senior at West Point, a freshman at the University of Central Florida (UCF), and 14-year-old twins, so obviously, the scholarship is a blessing.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal impacts you and your community?
A. I want to use my Ph.D. to help transform the breastfeeding rates for black women.
Unfortunately, in the black culture, there are not a lot of women who breastfeed. If it were the norm, I do believe more women would consider breastfeeding. It can be hard promoting something that you really do not understand and live. There are negative perspectives such as a lack of support and a lack of confidence that affect the decisions of black women to breastfeed.

My goal is to create a lactation curriculum/program for the underserved population. Lactation education advancement is a key to changing this outcome. I want to create podcasts and work with HBCU’s to help change this disparity. Education and support can make a huge difference.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. How will social justice be interwoven in your career plans?
A. Union’s commitment to social justice is interwoven through the curriculum and faculty. Union brings out inequality issues. As a student and faculty member in the Maternal Health degree program, I am encouraged to discuss social justice issues with students and colleagues. As I continue to pursue my career, I plan to use what I learn at Union to provide support for increasing breastfeeding rates among black women and shed light on racial disparities and lack of access to good health care.

Q. What are your plans after you earn your degree?
A. I want to use my degree to develop lactation curriculum/programs to educate underserved populations, especially black women.

You can learn more about Tangela and her work at her web site Mommy Milk & Me Inc.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation to the Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign today. Click here to donate.

Dr. Gladys Hankins

Pay it 1964WARD – Dr. Gladys Hankins believes giving is a principle-driven act

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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.

Dr. Gladys HankinsDr. Gladys Gossett Hankins is a Union alumna, Board of Trustee member, author, speaker, diversity expert, and global management consultant. In the Q & A below, she discusses why she invests in Union and explains why she believes in the principle of giving back.

Q: We are launching the Pay it 1964Ward campaign to raise $1,964,000 to support our students achieve their dreams. You are a trustee, an alumna, and have been a long time giver. Can you tell us why you give to Union? Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?
A: I believe in the principle of giving back. That means giving monetary support to the educational institutions from which I received my degrees. I have done so annually since I received my associate degree from a two-year Catholic college. I received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rockhurst, a Jesuit university, and my Ph.D. from Union Institute & University in 1994. I was a non-traditional student for each one of my degrees, studying at night while working full-time, which makes me appreciate my alma maters even more.

I am so proud of the truly growth filled education I received at Union when studying for my Ph.D. As a trustee, it is an honor for me to join the commencements where I see the joy on the faces of the graduates, and I am always reminded of my own joyous Union experience and graduation. Union’s Ph.D. program gave me the chance to study, learn, and earn my degree while continuing my full-time job, when other schools in this area required me to be a full-time, non-working student. I feel my donation helps Union directly as it is applied to where it is most needed to benefit students. I would love all Union’s alumni to express their gratitude toward Union with an annual monetary gift.

Q: Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?
A: I care deeply and share Union’s commitment to address such an important and necessary issue. I have personally been able to use my Ph.D. focus in Organizational Behavior and Development to develop and conduct programs on diversity that have been attended by thousands of people in over 20 countries, with respect to social justice matters, particularly pertaining to organizational effectiveness and diversity and inclusion. I trust my contributions help other students with their goals.

Q: Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal may have impacted you?
A: In the work I did at Procter & Gamble, as well as the consulting I continued to do after my retirement, my Ph.D. gave me automatic acceptance as an expert in the areas I have consulted in. I also authored a book on diversity, Diversity Blues: How To Shake ‘Em, that has been made available through the public library system globally. I believe that all Union graduates may have made equally substantial contributions to social justice in significant ways.

Q: What else would you tell prospective donors about why they should give to Union?
A: I would say to alumni, “You have a vested interest in the continuing success of this university. As long as UI&U continues to be accredited and ranked, you will always be able to be proud of the institution from which you graduated. Union is primarily a tuition-driven institution. But having the benefit of large numbers of donors, as well as people who bequeath substantial amounts, guarantees that Union can continue to exist and educate world-changing students.”

Giving is a principle-driven act. If every one of Union’s 20,000 graduates were able to give just $100 per year, that $2 million would ensure that Union will continue to serve students who are attracted to the benefits of our fine university.

Please donate today at this link Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign.

About Dr. Hankins

Dr. Gladys Gossett Hankins is an author, speaker, diversity expert, and global management consultant. She holds a PhD degree in Organizational Behavior and Development. A former corporate executive and adjunct college professor, she is president of Telora Victor, Inc., a management consulting organization specializing in organizational effectiveness and diversity. Her clients have included the Federal Government, major corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations. Gladys has coached top management on the issues associated with managing a diverse workforce. She has done extensive work in diversity and has consulted across the global community, creating and delivering workshops throughout North America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Western and Eastern Europe.

A proven leader in designing breakthrough initiatives, her programs have been called life transforming and credited with changing organizational cultures and shaping their diversity initiatives. She has received numerous testimonials on her personal effect and impact on individuals and organizations.

An author, Gladys has four published works including a business book on diversity entitled Diversity Blues, How to Shake ‘Em, a best-seller that deals with racism and sexism in organizations, and what to do about them.

Her fiction works are mystery novels, written under her pen name, GiGi Gossett, and set in Cincinnati. By Any Other Name addresses race, privilege and betrayal, some of life’s most beguiling situations. Her most recent publication, The Midwife Factor is an international mystery in which past secrets are revealed as two girls, separated at birth attempt to find their way back to each other.

She collaborated with Yolanda Webb to write a “tween” mystery entitled A Twisy Girls Mystery: The Case of the Dropped Pearl. Gladys continues to write both fiction and non-fiction. All of her publications can be obtained from Amazon.com and other electronic booksellers. They are also available at public libraries.

She is a life member of the NAACP, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and The Links, Incorporated and has a long history of community service, currently serving on several non-profit boards.

Janet K. Kempf

Pay it 1964ward – My scholarship will help me plant seeds of hope to combat mental illness

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The Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964ward campaign is underway and is already making a difference in the lives of our students. At Union, 100 percent of funds that donors designate to scholarships goes directly to the student.

Janet K. Kempf

Janet K. Kempf

In the Q & A below, Janet K. Kempf discusses how her scholarship that provides support as she pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling will allow her to provide hope and collaboration toward life-enhancing outcomes for the mentally ill.

Q. How has the scholarship you received impacted your academic career?
A. Receiving the David P. Finks Scholarship was a true honor. Because of the scholarship, I have been able to continue to pursue my Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with less financial burden. This is significant because a main barrier for students pursing higher education degrees is how to pay for the high cost of the training. I was able to decrease my work hours and devote my attention to a full load of class work and my internship.

Q. Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. Can you share how this goal impacts you and your community?
A. Part of the reason I returned to school after 20 years in the mental health profession was to better understand theories and practices in the treatment of individuals living with mental illness. In our community, mental illness affects one out of five people. That means a lot of people are struggling to live a peaceful and satisfying life. With my degree, I can work with such individuals to provide hope and collaborate with them toward life-enhancing outcomes. In turn, these individuals will spread hope and contribute to the community by sharing their talents. Hope then multiplies.

Q. Union is known for its commitment to social justice. How will social justice be interwoven in your career plans?
A. Social justice is not only interwoven, but integral to the practice of counseling. In order to be an effective counselor, I must display empathy and form a therapeutic relationship with the individual. To be empathetic, I must be fully present with the individual and gain an appreciation of their culture and life. Everyone deserves the same treatment regardless of present or past struggles. As a counselor, I am perhaps more aware of the struggles because I sit with individuals who are actively experiencing the pain that comes with mental illness. I have a unique opportunity to share with others the reality of this pain and advocate for their treatment needs.

Q. What are your plans after you earn your degree?
A. After earning this degree, I will be able to assist individuals make life-enhancing outcomes, helping will better society. I also hope to continue my education by earning a Doctorate in Clinical Counseling Education so I will be able to help plant the seed of hope in the lives of the individuals I counsel and also in students who will be the next generation of counselors. Everyone in society has the ability to contribute to social change. I am fortunate that the seed was planted in me years ago; now through my work the number of empowered individuals will grow, positively impacting society.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation. Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

Dr. Shekhar Mitra

Pay it 1964WARD: Why I give back: Shekhar and Anu Mitra Honoring my parents’ spirit by supporting the next generation of leaders

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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 go 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.

Read how Dr. Shekhar Mitra and Union professor Dr. Anu Mitra established the M.K. and Kamala Mitra Scholarship Fund to honor the memory of his parents.

Dr. Shekhar MitraQ: We are launching the Pay it 1964Ward campaign to raise $1,964,000 to support our students achieve their dreams. You have been a longtime giver. Can you tell us why you give to Union? Why do you choose to invest in Union’s students?

A: Union fills a unique need for motivated adults who not only want to advance their careers but also are deeply passionate about serving their global communities. Both Union faculty and students are focused on understanding the world from an interdisciplinary standpoint; to explore new ways in which to engage the inquiry and experiential processes. Union represents a distinctive learning model where future generations of leaders practice open inquiry, inclusion, and dialogue to make an impact in the real world. We strongly believe in investing in Union and its students.

Q: Tell us about your parents and what inspired you to link the scholarship fund at Union to their memory.

Both my parents were an inspiration to Anu and I. They met as refugees from the partition of Bengal in India in the late 1940s as the British ended its colonial rule in India. My parents escaped the ravages of the riots as they fled from their home in Dacca to Calcutta. They had no permanent home for years and were sheltered by distant cousins who supported their livelihood and education. This allowed my father, M.K., to fulfill his career dream. He became one of the Indian government’s top economist and revenue officer.

However, my parents never forgot their roots and chose to support numerous refugee families and young adults to get their education in high schools and colleges. Anu and I wanted to honor their spirit by inspiring the entrepreneurial instincts of our Union students.

Q: Union is known for its commitment to social justice. Does that aspect of the university influence your decision to invest in Union and its students? If so, how?

I knew Union was the right university to establish the fund. Union’s commitment to social justice parallels our background and upbringing. We believe that the values of social justice, pluralism, and inclusion are important ground rules in our democratic society. We want to promote these ideas in our support of organizations and institutions. As an innovation leader of a major multinational for many decades, I have seen how diverse perspectives, multicultural teams, and globally diverse consumer inputs are able to shape breakthrough designs and drive the development of innovative products and services to meet customers’ needs. Anu believes that social justice principles are a central vision of human-centered learning. This, coupled with one’s desire to manifest into action what one knows, is the basis of a good life.

Q: Union’s goal is to transform lives and communities. You recently had an opportunity to meet a few students who have been awarded scholarships. Can you share your response to them after listening to their stories?

A: I was so impressed with the scholarship recipients. What is extraordinary is how they interweave their life’s experiences with the construction of hypotheses in their scholarly work. They lead as they learn, focusing on the practical ramifications of their scholarly work to touch and improve lives in the real world.

I would urge all stakeholders to consider their own way of supporting our deserving students and the unique place of learning at UI&U. Union students deserve our support.

Support the next generation of leaders with your donation.
Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

About Anu and Shekhar Mitra

Anu Mitra, Ph.D. is a professor in Union’s Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies program. She holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in English Literature and Women’s Studies. Dr. Mitra is drawn to interdisciplinarity and the idea that all problems are capable of being solved, but only if we are able to view multiple solutions through different lenses. She is the recent recipient of UI&U’s Herbert L. and Dr. Beth Alswanger Gopman Research Fund award and was awarded a Fulbright Specialist Award for 2020-2021. She has served as a docent at several museums and as a trustee on several arts-related boards, including the YWCA, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Cincinnati Ballet.

Shekhar Mitra, Ph.D. is passionate about enabling younger generations of scientists and engineers across all cultures, companies, and businesses to achieve their full potential as professionals. The life scientist spent 29 years at Procter & Gamble, retiring as senior vice president, Global Innovation. He holds more than 50 patents, and now, post-retirement, serves as a member of the UI&U Board of Trustees, works as a board member and strategic adviser to several Fortune 500 companies, new ventures, and a private equity company. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor and is listed in the U.S. Congressional Record for his contributions to improving lives through his impact on consumer meaningful innovations and community service. You may read more about his illustrious career here.

Keara Wrightsman

Pay it 1964WARD – From homelessness to college student

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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 scholarship recipients. Learn how that support fulfilled their educational dreams and helped them become a force for positive change in their communities and the world at large.

Keara Wrightsman

Talbert House honors Keara Wrightsman as Employee of the Year. Left to right, James Wilson, Talbert House Vice President Housing Service Line with Keara at the Talbert House Annual Employee Appreciation Celebration.

Union psychology major Keara Vogt Wrightsman knows what it is to hit rock bottom.

“I was homeless for 10 years before I entered a treatment facility in 2014. I lived in abandoned buildings and on park benches. I lived on the street, addicted to opiates, like 23 million other Americans.”

She has come a long way. Now a student in Union’s Bachelor of Arts program, she works fulltime at Talbert House — a nonprofit that helps men, women, and children throughout Southwest Ohio overcome adversity to become healthy and productive citizens. She works with homeless veterans to find housing and employment, and assists them with Social Security claims. She also volunteers for the Affordable Housing Advocates, the Homeless Clearinghouse, and the Veterans Work Group. In 2018, she was named the Talbert House Employee of the Year for her outstanding work placing homeless veterans into housing and assisting them with employment and expedited Social Security claims.

“I am pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology in order to help treat and assess those who have been where I have and the understanding and knowledge to also help those who have been where I haven’t,” said Wrightsman. “My career goal is to be a clinical case manager and move on to my master’s degree. I hope my story is an example to others who are struggling.”

Her determination to change her outcome was recognized with another award, the Jimmy Render Award from the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, given to homeless or formerly homeless individuals who have defied the odds and subsequently committed themselves to addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness.

“Because of my homeless-related background, no one would hire me. Finally, Talbert House took a chance on me. My passion is to help people; especially those without a home or who are afflicted with addiction. In order to do that on all levels and to the fullest, I need to have a degree and higher education. A lot of change comes from the work groups and systematic change is needed for permanent change,” said Wrightsman.

Recently, her job paved the way for her to buy a home for her family. Keara achieved her first goal: to recover. Her second goal is to further her education to become a clinical case manager. She says, “I hope my story is an example to others who are struggling. My passion is to learn all I can, and also be involved in my community, building strategic plans to change the course of thousands of lives, just like mine.”

Union took a chance on her too by offering her a scholarship.

“This is my second time at Union. I had started in 2013 and I had to drop out. I needed a university that respects my work and life schedule. Union does that for me.”

Keara’s advice for students is to stay focused. “Don’t give up and reach out when you need help. Never give up!”

UI&U doesn’t give up on students either. Your support will fulfill students’ educational dreams and helped them become a force for positive change in their communities and the world at large.

Please donate today to the Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign.

Jocelyn Rainey

Pay it 1964WARD – Finding Mona Lisa

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The Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964ward campaign is underway and is already making a difference in the lives of our students. At Union, 100 percent of funds that donors designate to scholarships goes directly to the student. Read how a scholarship is impacting the life of a doctoral candidate and the young students she serves in the feature below.

Her LinkedIn profile lists her current position as dean of Student Services at Wayne County Community College District, but if you live in Detroit, you know Jocelyn Rainey as an artist and art teacher, and as the founder of a gallery. But she is probably best known for creating the Finding Mona Lisa Program 313: Urban Students Become Global Scholars.

Jocelyn RaineyWhile teaching art and art history at Loyola High School in 2007, she asked her students if they wanted to see Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic “Mona Lisa” first-hand, not just in a book. Their enthusiasm sparked the creation of Finding Mona Lisa, the innovative travel program that has provided students (aged 14-19) with the opportunity to visit 10 countries to view famous art works and immerse themselves in other languages and cultures.

Rainey makes sure the students earn their opportunity to expand their lives. They work for a year, training in the areas of language, culture, and how to travel. They are responsible for fundraising to pay for their trip. They must learn about the country they will be visiting, learn the fundamentals of photography so they can document the trip. And, they perform one community service project of their choosing.

A current doctoral student at Union, Rainey says, “What happens is [the students] learn to respect differences, but they also learn how to embrace the similarities that we all have as human beings.” The community and the parents… fund these trips. They want to see these kids go out. And the biggest takeaway is that they understand that anything that they dream and anything they want to do can come true. Because if you’re walking around Detroit, and then the next day you’re riding camels next to the pyramids? Or swimming in the Nile? I mean, c’mon. Your dream can come true.”

Since the inception of Finding Mona Lisa (FL313), Rainey has ushered more than 100 Detroit teens on trips to visit China, Japan, Egypt, South Africa, and Costa Rica. In 2016, FL313 was among the first American high school students to visit Cuba. Some were able to speak Spanish to their hosts, many of whom knew of Detroit because of the Tigers baseball team.

Jocelyn has an amazing story herself; one of surviving gun violence and overcoming paralysis and rejuvenation through the creation of art. She has made a deep impression in Detroit through the art world and through her TedX Detroit presentation. Jocelyn is transforming lives and communities, just as her scholarship is transforming her educational experience as a Ph. D. candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Ethical & Creative Leadership.

Jocelyn is a recipient of the Virginia Ruehlmann Women in Union Scholarship grant from the Helen Steiner Rice Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. The scholarship was created by alumna Virginia R. Wiltse, Ph.D. (2000), who helped to secure the gift to honor her mother, the late Virginia Ruehlmann of Cincinnati. “This scholarship is a tribute to my mother’s decades of service. Her life and how she personified the value of higher education mirrored the value of higher education of Helen Steiner Rice, the poet,” Dr. Wiltse said. “My experience at Union was, in every way, transformative, and there is a clear link between what I studied at Union and who I have become since my graduation from the Ph.D. program in 2000. I love Union. The experience of Union changed me. For that I will be forever grateful.”

For Jocelyn, the scholarship validates her transformative work in her community.

“Union and its donors invested in me. I wouldn’t have received the scholarship if they didn’t think I could change the world.”

You too can change world by supporting the next generation of students fulfill their educational dreams. Please donate today to the Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD campaign.

Randy Danielsen

Pay it 1964WARD – Why I give back: My Union degree got me a seat at the table

By | Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Students | No Comments

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 go 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.

Randy DanielsenRandy Danielsen, Ph.D., 2003, knows one thing for sure. He would not be where he is today without his Union degree.

“I was an older student, already settled in my career, when I realized that a degree, particularly from Union, would enhance my trajectory in higher education. As a result, I was able to move into the deanship of a private, not-for-profit, post-secondary health science school and lead that program for over 14 years. My degree from Union prepared me to be open to many academic and personal changes, and to make a difference wherever I am.”

Dr. Danielsen’s career started in the Air Force, where he was given the choice of becoming a medic or a cook.

“I chose the medic route. My training as a medical corpsman would lead to my career as a physician assistant (PA), clinician, educator, author, and editor. The PA profession is a relatively new profession that started a little over 50 years ago. I was fortunate to be among the first group of PAs to receive certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) in 1975, remaining clinically active for over three decades. I maintained my certification through 2017 and then was able to attain the PA-C Emeritus status. My Union degree opened paths for me to serve in the classroom and administration. A higher education degree gets a person a seat at the table. I would never have been a dean without my Ph.D. from Union.”

Dr. Danielsen pays his degree forward by investing in students and the future of Union.

“I am a first-generation college student and certainly the first in my family to attain a Ph.D. I appreciated my educational experience at Union, and feel it is important to do whatever I can do so others will have a similar experience. Union students come from all walks of life, and many share similar stories of being the first in their family. That is why I invest in Union.”

Another reason Dr. Danielsen supports Union is its social justice mission that is interwoven in the curriculum.

“The concept of fair and just relationships between the individual and society, measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privilege is something I have felt from a very early age. This is probably why Union appealed to me from the very first day I sought information about their programs.”

Dr. Danielsen’s generosity, and that of other Union donors, supports student scholarships, veteran’s services, innovative programming such as the Maternal Child Health program, the new and emerging Union Institute for Social Justice, and is critical in supporting Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

“Randy is a shining example of how Union’s alumni have developed personal missions to make a difference,” said Carolyn Krause, VP of Advancement for Donor Relations and Alumni Services. “Not only is he a monthly donor, he also serves as president of the International Alumni Association Board. In that role, he welcomes the newest class of alumni every year at National Commencement. He tells them three things: 1) to display their Union diplomas with pride and let everyone know of their Union education; 2) to recruit a new student to Union and to be a Union ambassador; and 3) to make a gift to support Union – at whatever level they can. His contributions support and encourage our adult, nontraditional students to complete their higher education dream to make a difference in their communities and the world. He leads by example.”

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About Dr. Randy Danielsen

Dr. Randy Danielsen, (Union Ph.D., 2003) is professor and director of the Doctor of Medical Science Program at the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Dr. Danielsen began his healthcare career as a medical corpsman in the U.S. Air Force in 1970, serving 28 years with the Air Force and the Army National Guard, retiring in 1998 as a Desert Storm veteran with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

A graduate of the University of Utah, Randy earned his MEDEX PA Program degree in 1974 and Bachelor of Science (cum laude) in 1978. He earned a master’s in PA Studies (MPAS) from the University of Nebraska with an emphasis in Internal Medicine in 1997. During his doctoral program at Union, he worked closely with other students and had a leadership position on the Graduate Learner Council.

Dr. Danielsen has served in a number of leadership positions throughout the Physician Assistant profession. He has participated on a variety of publication advisory/review boards and has been a prolific writer. He has published more than 25 peer-reviewed articles, 20 journal editorials, and four book chapters. In 2011, Dr. Danielsen published his first book, The Preceptor’s Handbook for Supervising Physician Assistants. He and his wife split their time between homes in Arizona and Michigan.