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The Gift of Seeing Your True Potential

SCHOLARSHIPS: COFC FUND SCHOLARSHIP, HONORS COLLEGE DEAN’S EXCELLENCE FUND

Giving Story

If you’re lucky, you have a family standing behind you to help you reach your true potential. And, if you’re as lucky as Martín Gonzalez ’14, you have more than one.

The son of two immigrants who made every sacrifice necessary for his education, Gonzalez came to the College as part of the Bonner Leader Program, expanding his support network not only to the CofC family and the Bonner family, but to the Goldsmith and Kerrigan families, as well.

"Receiving the Goldsmith Scholarship and the Kerrigan Scholarship meant absolutely everything to me,” says Gonzalez, a Hispanic studies major who is now pursuing a doctorate of physical therapy program at Langton University in Oklahoma. “Those two families believed in me and saw my potential, which motivated me to pursue my passions. I can honestly say that I would not be in the position I am in now if it weren’t for those two families.”

Raymond and Georgina Goldsmith – whose daughter, Isobel, graduated from the College in 2009 – created the Goldsmith Scholarship to help ease the financial burden of higher education for students in the College’s Bonner Leader Program, a four-year civic-leadership and development curriculum for first-generation college students. In exchange for a $2,000 stipend in their financial aid package, these students commit to 300–450 hours of community service and leadership-development training each year, participate in service-based summer internships and even travel to other communities to explore particular issues and help enact change.

To further the Bonner Leader Program’s mission of promoting leadership and community service throughout the world, Stephen and Maureen Kerrigan made a $160,000 commitment to fund domestic and international service immersion experiences for the students.

The Kerrigan Scholarship enabled Gonzalez to spend an alternative break in Morocco, where he volunteered at a hospital and ultimately inspired his goal of opening a physical therapy practice that serves underprivileged minorities and predominantly Spanish-speaking elderly people. It’s something he couldn’t have dreamed of without the support of the Kerrigan and Goldsmith families.

“Without the generous funding of my undergraduate education, continuing on in school would have been an unlikely dream for me,” says Gonzalez, adding that he will never forget the impact that the Goldsmiths and Kerrigans have had on his life. “It motivates me and re-motivates me every day. So, when times get rough with my classes, I just remember how lucky I am to be able to make my dreams come true.”

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