Donors Continue a Tradition of Scholarship Gifts for New Generations of Saint Leo Students

April 12, 2010


Older and younger generations met at a special appreciation luncheon Friday during Homecoming Weekend 2010 to honor scholarship donors.

Saint Leo is able to award a variety of private scholarships to worthy students because of these donors. This year, 147 students benefitted.

“These are wonderful young people,” President Arthur F. Kirk, Jr. assured contributors during the Opening Doors of Opportunity Scholarship Luncheon. Dr. Kirk predicted the recipients of these private scholarships will do well in their fields, and do good for society.

Graduating senior Daniel R. Izquierdo, student speaker at the lunch, said candidly that he would not have been able to attend Saint Leo University without significant financial aid, especially one of the university’s four-year scholarships from the Goizueta Foundation. The scholarships help students of Latino heritage earn a college degree and participate in leadership-building activities. Izquierdo excitedly recalled all that he has been able to do at Saint Leo: earn a degree in business administration and international business, study in Rome for a semester, serve as his class vice president, and help represent Saint Leo in a special fellowship program with the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, an important legislative affairs group.

“I am an only child from a mother and father who never finished college,” Izquierdo said. He was raised near Tampa largely by his deaf mother and her Dominican parents. While this close-knit family did not want to let their young man leave the nest, they also wanted him to get the most from his college education. “Animo!” his grandmother would say to him when he would telephone her before a test, Izquierdo said, meaning, “Push yourself. Don’t falter.” He hopes to land a job at a company in Tampa or New York City and earn a master’s degree in business. Izquierdo, on his own behalf and on behalf of his fellow students, expressed sincere appreciation “to all you donors who have been there for us.”

William Baker ’68, was one of the donors. Baker told the group how grateful he was to Saint Leo, to its founding monks, and to previous generations of faculty who prepared him for life with the gifts of knowledge and values. Baker was better able to enjoy and appreciate the time he spent in Europe for his career because of the teaching of the late historian James J. Horgan.

The woman Baker married, the late Lorraine W. Baker ’69, “had the desire to become a teacher, and it was Saint Leo faculty who made her an exceptional teacher,” he said. This wasn’t just his opinion: her school and her district had honored Lorraine Baker for excellence in teaching. He remains grateful, he said, for the career skills and life tools she acquired at Saint Leo, and so he established the Lorraine W. Baker Endowed Scholarship for students in either elementary education or religion. This year’s recipient, elementary education major Ashley Asel, was unable to attend the luncheon, but wrote Baker a letter of appreciation, saying that she too hopes to give back to Saint Leo one day.

To learn more about the ways individuals, groups, or companies can help meet scholarship needs at Saint Leo University, contact David Ostrander at (352) 588-8644, or e-mail him at Alternately, call Dawn Parisi at (352) 588-8251 or e-mail her at .

Photo: Student speaker Daniel Izquierdo (left) and several fellow Goizueta Scholarship recipients. From left to right, they are: Derek Obregin, Esmeralda Farias, Diana Kase, and Carlos Ramos.