Transforming lives through gifts of endowment

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Philanthropy takes many forms, and at the University of Redlands endowed gifts are given as a way to honor loved ones, support the institution and better the lives of students. When an endowed scholarship, chair or deanship is created, it makes a lasting impact on the University.

Each endowed gift at Redlands is carefully crafted to honor the wishes of the donor. Some, like the Kathie J. Rawding Endowed Scholarship, are bestowed upon intelligent and hard-working women deserving of recognition, with each one a testament to the late University of Redlands alumna and employee who shared those same traits. Others, like the Robert A. and Mildred Peronia Naslund Endowed Dean’s Chair of the School of Education, help recruit and retain nationally recognized leaders, teachers and researchers. Each endowed gift has a ripple effect, as the scholarship, chair or deanship is awarded to someone new, and the previous recipient goes on to make his or her mark outside of Redlands.

A gift that fulfills potential

Tara Johnson MAM ’12 has had a long and rewarding career behind the scenes in retail working for Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren and Chaffey College, where she is an assistant textbook buyer.

Now, it’s time for her to start gearing up for the next chapter in her life.

“I have always wanted to be a college professor,” the San Diego State University graduate said. “My job has all of the things I love about buying. Plus, I am able to interact with students, and now I really want to become an adjunct professor.”

To get there, Johnson decided to enroll in the School of Business Master of Arts in Management (MAM) program, taking classes at the Rancho Cucamonga campus near her home in Fontana.

“I had a really great experience at Redlands,” she said. “There were five of us in our cohort, and we called ourselves a ‘MAMily.’ We really did develop a bond going through the program.”

With a full-time job, a husband and three children under the age of eight, it was hard—but worth it.

“My experience at Redlands changed the direction of my life,” she said. “With a master’s, I can do everything times four, because I have the degree now.”

That’s the lesson she plans to share with the young women she mentors through the Delta Academy, a program run by her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta. Once a month, Johnson meets with middle school students and works with them on increasing their self-esteem, improving study skills and what it takes to succeed.

“My job is to support the girls, but I get as much back,” she said.

Support for Johnson’s education came through the Kathie J. Rawding Endowed Scholarship, which she received after being nominated by her campus director. Bruce Rawding, associate program director for the School of Business, decided to create the scholarship as a way to deal with his grief over the loss of his wife, Kathie, in 2007.

“I was looking for constructive ways to honor her memory,” he said. “Kathie worked for the University for 12 years, and we both earned our MBAs here. I wanted to give back in her name.”

As he developed the scholarship’s guidelines, he made an effort to ensure that certain students weren’t overlooked.

“I wanted to give to other Kathies out there—women of color who were looking for some recognition and financial support, who didn’t come from a wealthy background or have the support of employers offering aid. Not to my surprise, there are a lot of Kathies out there—hard-working, intelligent people who want to get ahead and are doing good work. They deserved to be recognized and acknowledged.”

Johnson was touched when she received the award in 2012 and said her sense of gratitude became even greater after she met Bruce. “I am honored,” she said. “I hope I can live up to Kathie’s legacy.”

Expanding partnerships

From the point of admission through the moment they walk across the commencement stage, Andrew F. Wall works to ensure that all students receive a high-quality learning experience within the School of Education. This commitment to each student’s academic journey, he said, will help grow a community of dedicated, engaged alumni.

“I think working to reinvigorate the School of Education and creating a bold vision for a school that is larger, stronger and has a greater impact on students and the Southern California communities they will eventually work in is really important,” said Wall, who joined the University in July 2014 and holds the Robert A. and Mildred Peronia Naslund Endowed Dean’s Chair in the School of Education.

Utilizing his expertise in leadership and organizational governance, Wall aims to build collaborations among the school’s educational partners and enhance the School of Education’s strong commitment to educational justice. He is actively seeking opportunities through grants, partnerships and gifts for faculty and staff to pursue continued professional growth and to promote their scholarly activities.

Along with the faculty and staff, Wall continues to focus on the School of Education’s top priorities of working with local schools, agencies and other external constituencies to provide technical assistance, professional development for teachers, leaders and counselors, and to cooperate with the school’s stakeholders to improve education in the region.

“My role as dean is part of my endowed chair,” Wall said. “So in providing leadership to the School of Education, and particularly doing work that brings educational progress to the Inland Empire and Southern California, I serve the very worthwhile ideas put forward by the Naslunds.”

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