As an undergraduate at the Colorado School of Mines in the United States of America, Mr Larry Medina, a loyal donor to the National University of Singapore (NUS), received a scholarship thanks to the generosity of annual giving donors.
That scholarship made all the difference. He says, “My parents worked very hard to make ends meet – my father was an electronic technician and my mother a preschool teacher. Financial assistance was crucial for my siblings and I to see ourselves through university, which my parents never got to attend, and I was extremely grateful to benefit from acts of kindness from complete strangers.”
Although his work as a chemical engineer in the petroleum industry took him all the way to Alaska, he never forgot his roots and made his first of many gifts to his alma mater’s annual giving fund at the age of 25. His career made him realise the profound impact of his university education, and he decided from then on that his giving philosophy would be to create opportunities for those without means and invest in causes that have a long-term impact on the future of individuals, their families, and society. Education, in particular, got a special place in his heart.
Staying true to his philosophy, Mr Medina became an annual donor to NUS after relocating to Singapore and becoming a Singaporean citizen in 2007, where he now works for Knowledge Universe, a leading private education organisation providing early childhood education, enrichment programmes and higher education to students in Singapore.
He has given generously on a yearly basis to the University’s Annual Giving campaign in support of bursaries and scholarships. Explaining his decision to give to NUS, he says, “I believe strongly in empowering people at a grassroots level and helping the community I live in. Giving has to begin at home and it was a natural choice for me to support students at NUS. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment than knowing that your generosity has made a very real difference in someone’s life, someone who might not have had many options but who now has a bright future thanks to the gift of an education.”
“Take the broader view in life and, over time, learn to focus less on yourself and more on your community and how you can help others,” he says, when asked to give students some advice. “It’s a long road and it’s perfectly natural to look after yourself very early on in your career, but the immense satisfaction you will get from being aware of your surroundings and acquiring a ‘spirit of giving’ will bring you much happiness in life.”
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