As part of the university’s strategic goal to grow philanthropic support for initiatives and scholarships, the first annual Scholars SOAR (Support-Opportunity-Accountability-Responsibility) breakfast was held May 22 at the University Center, Twin Cities campus, to benefit the First-Generation Initiative (FGI). More than 175 people attended, and $186,000 was raised for the programs that prepare and support first-generation undergraduate students at the Winona campus.

The audience heard from Brother William, Mary Ann Remick (trustee and chair of the FGI advisory board), Brother Ed Siderewicz (assistant to the president for first-generation and Lasallian initiatives), and Dan Hunt ’78 (FGI advisory board). Highlights of the morning were the personal stories from current FGI students Evelin Vergara of Minneapolis, and Ibrahim Dickey, originally of Sierra Leone (shown at right with Brother William). They told of their backgrounds, their challenges, and how they are discovering their full potential and working hard to achieve their dreams of obtaining a college degree. Ibrahim is back in Africa this summer, doing an internship at the same orphanage where he began his education. This year Ibrahim, Evelin and 33 other students are benefiting from FGI scholarships and the college support programs.

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