A couple years ago I had the honor of meeting Deirdre “Dee” Dow Chase, a university donor, who had just endowed a scholarship named after the Irish homeland of her relatives. (“Expanding College Access:Former UMass Boston employee shares wealth”see story>)
By choosing the name, the Carna Scholarship, she honored her immigrant forebears who had journeyed to America from this village in Galway County, Ireland to find opportunity and did so through the gift of higher education. Deirdre designated her scholarship for immigrants who become citizens or permanent residents to study at UMass Boston.
Well, endowments take their sweet time to ripen. And finally, after three years, this one has earned enough interest to turn out a decent scholarship.
Yesterday, that wait was worth it.
Dee was introduced to Abayomi Akinbode, ’15, the first Carna Scholar. Abayomi arrived from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria in May 2009 and transferred to Roxbury Community College soon after. Then he enrolled at UMass Boston to explore history and economics with the long term goal of becoming a public policy expert and university professor. In a written note of thanks to Dee, Abayomi explained that when he was struggling to afford his summer tuition, “you stepped up to relieve my burden and rekindle my hope and determination for academic excellence.”
Dee’s Irish relatives from Carna (her uncle’s parents) landed in the Everett Square area of Dorchester decades ago to begin their lives. Guess where Abayomi is living as he commutes to UMass Boston? Everett Square.
Nan Cormier is director of advancement communications