Personal Giving Stories
Susanne Galbraith, a resident of Miles City, Mont., celebrated her son’s high school graduation last spring with one cap and gown for her son and another cap and gown for herself.
That’s right. Susanne Galbraith graduated from college—the University of Illinois at Springfield—the same year her son graduated from high school.
Susanne had wanted to go to college straight out of high school, but says she wound up getting a job, “all the while thinking about the time when it would be possible to continue my college education.”
Life gets in the way
Susanne got married, and she and her husband Joel worked hard and raised Lindsay, 24, and Derick, 18. All along she kept her dream of a college degree alive.
But to achieve that dream, Susanne had to get past some major obstacles: She had a full-time job, bills to pay, two children to raise. Worst of all, she lived in a remote area of Montana with no convenient nearby college, and had very little extra money in the budget to pay for her degree.
It was her great fortune to discover the University of Illinois at Springfield’s online programs. UIS offered her the chance to work from her own home in between her other obligations, and then, to top it all off, she qualified for a scholarship available to returning students like herself who did their work online.
For those whose dream never dies
That scholarship was the Grace Brorstrom Oakley scholarship, which gives money to returning students just like Susanne who pursue a degree online. UIS Professor Burks Oakley, renowned specialist in online education, provided the scholarship in honor of his mother, Grace Brorstrom Oakley.
Oakley says his mother was a great believer in education and gave away much of her income to charities and directly to people in need. He says, “She often said, ‘The more I give away, the more I get.’”
The Oakley scholarship was a huge confidence builder for Susanne. “It’s nice to know that others believe in you,” she says.
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