Gifts help dream come true

Elizabeth LytleFor Elizabeth Lytle, growing up in the tiny town of Oakland, Oregon, a college education could have been completely out of reach—even with the University of Oregon just an hour to the north.

“I knew what I wanted, and I had a fire under me,” Lytle said. “I was on my own to figure out how to pay for it, but found a way mostly through hard work, scholarships, and a few loans.”

The hard work was a 40-hour-a-week job as a security guard, with graveyard and weekend shifts for three years. The fire was her passion for literature and language arts. As a junior, she was chosen to participate in the UO Kidd Tutorial Program, where she delved into the craft of creative writing, analyzing short fiction in the yearlong learning community.

She graduated cum laude from the UO last spring with a bachelor’s in English and Phi Beta Kappa honors.

Along the way, she discovered her love of teaching middle-school students, and now she’s pursuing her masters in the UOTeach program. She’ll emerge with a teaching license, a master of education degree in curriculum and teaching, and, as she said, a drive to “make schooling the great equalizer.”

For Lytle, now 22, gratitude goes to those whose endowments have made her education possible through more than a dozen scholarships, including the Walker Educational Diversity Scholarship and the Wilbur M. Watters Education Scholarship.

“I hope that my donors know how powerful they have been in helping change my life and the lives of all their other scholarship recipients,” she said. “Through their donations, they have helped me complete my degree and pursue my dream to be a spectacular English language arts teacher.”

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