Building a New Nevada
Dear Friend of Higher Education,
Over the last several days, I have been sending daily e-mails to our subscribers sharing the stories of our students and what education means to their lives.
During that time, we also re-launched a web site
dedicated to enhancing Nevada's education system (K-12 and higher ed) and we've asked people to share their stories so we, in turn, could share them with you.
Below are stories from two UNR graduates who want to make Nevada a better place to call home.
Growing up in Reno since the 6th grade, my sights were always on a college education. Neither of my parents had college degrees and my mother did not finish high school, but it was expected of me to go to college. There was no "if"...the only option was what to study. My parents provided $50 a month. I scrambled to assemble scholarships as low as $50 and I worked in a grocery store to pay my way through school.
Four years later, I had my degree in journalism, and 25 years later I was able to retire comfortably. The University of Nevada, Reno had taught me critical thinking and had helped me to develop the tools that I needed to compete and succeed.
Not only was the University of Nevada, Reno the school I wanted to attend, it was the only one I could afford. Without the reasonable tuition, my education and my life would have gone in a different direction. My success would have been doubtful.
My two daughters have degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno and one is completing a master's degree. Unlike their father, they could have gone to a myriad of other schools. They chose UNR because of the quality of education that it offered in the fields that they cared about.
Currently, I am involved as an investor in three high-technology projects that could be very beneficial to the Truckee Meadows. Each of these opportunities will depend upon a highly educated work force. Nevada's system of higher education is our source. Today it is adequate, barely, for our needs. Tomorrow, if higher education is severely damaged by drastic budget cuts, these opportunities and jobs will go elsewhere.
Success without education is not impossible. It is, however, rare. More than anywhere else, we can calculate those odds. They are too long to wager on. Our community needs to place its bet on higher education.
When I reflect back on the path my life has taken, I have no doubt that it would not have been the same without my degree from the University of Nevada, Reno. Not only did it give me a strong academic foundation, but a level of self-confidence and the ability to think, question, and work through problems as well.
My career was spent co-founding and growing a software company, which I did for 23 years. The value of higher education became even more apparent during that period. There is no doubt our company would not have been as successful without the contributions of so many significant employees whose ability to think, reason, and grow in their professions were a direct result of their University experience.
The value of higher education cannot be summarized on a spreadsheet or a table or chart. It is what stimulates our economy and gives our nation prominence. Today, more than ever, we need a work force characterized by more college graduates, not less.