SCHOOL OF eDUCATION ALUMNA COULDN'T WAIT TO GIVE BACK
When University of Houston-Clear Lake alumna Tracy McKinley received her first paycheck, she gave a portion of it straight to UHCL. Barely an alumna at that point, McKinley was eager to give back to the university and to do so in a way that would help future students.
“I felt like without the opportunity to get my degree through UHCL, I wouldn't have gotten my first paycheck,” says McKinley, now a special education teacher at La Porte Junior High School. She graduated from the university’s School of Education in fall of 2012 with her bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies. Not long after that, she became a Lifetime Member of the UHCL Alumni Association.
Like her plan for her first paycheck, McKinley’s decision to attend UHCL was straightforward.
“I knew I wanted to pursue a teaching career, and UHCL’s School of Education has a reputation of excellence,” says McKinley, who was further attracted to the campus by its natural beauty, diversity of organizations and activities.
Once here, McKinley knew she had picked the right location to pursue her bachelor’s, and perhaps someday a master’s, degree.
“During the time I spent at UHCL working toward my bachelor’s degree, I began to see UHCL as my second home,” says McKinley. “The college is not only family friendly, but also has a feeling of family itself.”
That feeling of a familial connection is what often leads alumni to become Lifetime Members. In addition to strengthening connections with the university though the association, Lifetime Members are given free parking in student lots at the university, access to computer labs and most importantly for McKinley, library privileges at the Alfred R. Neumann Library. As a teacher, especially one who routinely explores resources for students with emotional needs, the library access is invaluable. It was also a familiar place for McKinley, who spent countless hours there while pursuing her bachelor’s degree.
In addition to the perks Lifetime Members receive, they have the added advantage in knowing that their contributions help fund one of the largest, privately funded scholarship programs at UHCL. Since its inception in 2000, more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded from the endowment to new and returning students.
McKinley was one of those students.
“For me, scholarships helped make the dream of attending college an affordable reality. The financial support that they provided enhanced my college experience by allowing the opportunity to work fewer hours,” says McKinley. “This not only allowed me to spend more time on my academic studies, but it also allowed me the time to be involved in other campus related activities.”
To learn more about how you can become a Lifetime Member of the UHCL Alumni Association, visit the “Membership and Benefits” section of www.uhcl.edu/alumni or contact the association at firstname.lastname@example.org or 281-283-2021.
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