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Spotlight on Dr. Donna Gruber

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1. What excites you about being a part of higher education?

So much excites me about higher education, because it is unlike any other profession. The work can be challenging but it is meaningful and always interesting. No two days are ever the same, and I have the opportunity to work with all kinds of people from all walks of life and that is very energizing to me. The colleagues who I have had the pleasure of working with all have a passion for their work and I enjoy being a part of that because I not only learn a lot from them but I see how their love of what they do helps students. Overall it’s that calling to make an impact on someone’s life, which is not about financial or commercial gain that makes higher education so exciting.

2. What attracted you to become a part of the Union family?

 I was definitely attracted to the mission of Union. I have not always been 100% sure about what I wanted to do with my life but I’ve always been sure I wanted to help others find their opportunities in this world and Union’s mission clearly and confidently speaks to that. I also immediately connected with staff and faculty, and you are right it feels very much like a family. A family who has a goal of engaging, enlightening and empowering others, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

3. If you could have any job in the whole world, what would it be?

 I can honestly say working in higher education is exactly where I want to be. I would love to experience different roles within higher education of course but, outside of that if I could do anything just for fun it would be quality control for Cheetos. I just read an article about that yesterday and every four hours a team of quality control inspectors samples the product. I thought, that sounds like a fantastic job, every four hours eating Cheetos?? Sign me up!!

4. What surprises people about you?

 I’m not sure if too many things surprise people about me because I tend to be pretty transparent, but I suppose if I had to pick one thing it would be that I was a beekeeper for several years. I was perhaps not the best beekeeper, because I could never get the hang of getting my hives through the winter, but a beekeeper none the less.

5. What is your favorite book, and why?

 This is a difficult question. I have so many books that I love so much, the list could go on and on. However, there are two books I re-read about once a year just because and will never part with my worn out paperback copies – The History of Love by Nicole Krause and Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins. Although both books are basically about long lost loves, The History of Love is just a beautifully written story which incorporates war and intrigue and Still Life with Woodpecker comically manages to incorporate aliens and outlaws, so who can resist all of that?

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Women in Union Program Assists Over 40 Women As They Earn College Degrees

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The best way to lift children out of poverty is to educate their mothers. That philosophy led to the founding of the Union Institute & University Women in Union scholarship program, an innovative tuition approach to support mothers who urgently need financial assistance to complete their degree.

Today, four women join the more than 40 inspiring women who have received the scholarship and gone on to earn college degrees since the program’s inception. The latest recipients are Christina Avila, Monique Parish, Karen Sheffer, and Kimberly Sims.

“Union is a change agent in these women’s lives,” said Donna Gruber, Cincinnati Center Executive Director. “A college degree changes lives. Research shows that only 16 percent of women who raise their children as single parents have earned a college degree and children in these homes are five times more likely to live below the poverty line. We are working to change that data, but more importantly, working with these women to change the outcome.” (Census (2010), National Center for Children in Poverty)

Carolyn Krause, Vice President of Advancement, works alongside the Women in Union program to partner with foundations, corporations, and individual donors to provide scholarship support. The most recent grant is from U.S. Bank Foundation.

“This is the fifth year that we have received a grant from the U.S. Bank Foundation as they continue to provide the financial assistance for these women to return to their education and make a better life for themselves and their families,” said Krause. “It is the ongoing benevolence of corporations and foundations that make the Women in Union possible. We are proud of our scholarship recipients. They are working moms – and sometimes even grandmothers – who are fulfilling lifelong dreams but also serving as great role models for their children – and their communities.”

Initiated with a seed grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, other philanthropic organizations that have provided support:

        • Western & Southern Financial Group

        • U.S. Bank Foundation

        • The Greater Cincinnati Foundation – The Helen Steiner Rice Fund

        • The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank

        • W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Women in Union recipients have earned degrees in social work, early childhood studies, criminal justice management, business administration, and maternal child health/lactation consulting. The recipients reflect Union’s demographics of serving minorities (44 percent), women (56 percent), and an older, adult population (average age of 39).

Watch how the Women in Union scholarship has impacted lives at http://bit.ly/2jpIhD6.
If you would like to apply for a Women in Union scholarship or learn more about the program, call 800-861-6400 or email admissions@myunion.edu