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Fifteen Step Forward for Their 15th Reunion
The Class of '98 set a record for support of undergraduate financial aid.
They made Stanford history: The Class of 1998 secured the highest-ever number of endowed scholarships from a class their age. By the close of last year, 15 alumni had created new scholarships in honor of their 15th reunion giving campaign.
"Typically the push for endowed scholarships doesn't happen until the 20th reunion, but we knew classmates who were ready to give at that level," says Claudia Park Wang, '98. She co-chaired her class Special Gifts Committee with Chad Hagle, '98; Armen Panossian, '98, MS '99; and Marcia, '98, and Mario Valente, '98.
For Wang, a daughter of Korean immigrants, the motivation to give back was particularly strong.
"My parents cried when we got my financial aid letter from Stanford, because it meant that they would not have to exhaust savings they had accumulated through hard work without vacations for 20 years," she says. "Every quarter when I picked up my aid check, I was in awe of the fact that there were people out there generous enough to help someone like me."
Stanford prides itself on being among the very few American colleges and universities that practice need-blind admission and also promise to meet the full demonstrated need of all U.S. students. Today, more than half of Stanford undergraduates depend on need-based aid directly from the university. (Even more receive aid from outside sources.)
Karina Samuel-Gama, '17, the recipient of the Wang Family Undergraduate Scholarship, says she is grateful for the financial support and also for the kindness that Claudia and her husband, David, have shown to her.
"They even offered to help me make contacts for an internship in earth science, the area I want to major in," she says.
For members of the Class of '98, the prospect of giving was made all the more attractive by the availability of matching funds. Alumni up to their 15th reunion are able to create endowed scholarships with a gift of $166,000 paid over five years (compared with a gift level of $250,000 for older alumni).
Leila Ettefagh Nami, '98, a dermatologist in Newport Beach, says that as a student she dreamed of the time when she could pay it forward.
"There is no better way to give back than to see future generations share in the fabulous experience that is Stanford," she says.
Mark Fariborz established a scholarship in memory of his wife, Laudan Nabizadeh Fariborz, '98, MBA '02, who passed away tragically in 2013. The fund will support upperclassmen who have demonstrated leadership, civic-mindedness, and integrity in their interactions with the broader Stanford community. Many classmates from the Class of 1998 made contributions to the fund.
Chad Hagle, a real estate professional, endowed a scholarship fund because he says his time at Stanford set the path for the rest of his life. In April, he had a chance to return to campus for a dinner that honored scholarship recipients and their donors.
He says, "After meeting these remarkable students, I know the investment is worthwhile."
Class of 1998 endowed scholarship donors:
Andrew Blackburn, '98
In Memory of Laudan Nabizadeh Fariborz, '98, MBA '02
Chad Hagle, '98*
Angie Hsu, '96, MA '96, and William Hsu, '98
Linnea, '98, and Benedict Hur, '98, MA '98
Shaine A. Muller Morris, '98, and Brandon W. Morris, '98
Leila Ettefagh Nami, '98, and Navid Nami
Amanda, '97, and Garrett Pagon, '98
Armen Panossian, '98, MS '99*
Alexandre Rasouli, '98
M. Amber Tyson, '98
Claudia Park Wang, '98,* and David Wang
Hejin Woo Yim, '98, and Edward Yim, MBA '98
* Co-chairs of Special Gifts Committee