Tag: make way

Drake Shafer, BSBA 2023, grew up in Glasford, population 834, near Peoria, Illinois, and attended high school with 50 graduating seniors. With his mom’s encouragement, he became the first in his family to go to college and the first student from his high school in generations to attend a top-20 university.

“Something felt different when I toured WashU,” said Shafer, who visited more than a dozen campuses. “Instead of trying to see myself fitting into the campus and student life, I immediately felt at home.”

Shafer enrolled at Olin School of Business, but he felt behind as soon as he started. Some classmates had business experience, and some had parents with successful business careers. Fortunately, he said, “many of the professors in the Olin Business School that I’ve had aim to help every student succeed academically and professionally, no matter their background.”

Scholarship support made it possible for Shafer to attend the university. It “has given me the opportunity to solely focus on my education and the experience of being a learner, something I’ll never find the words to completely express my gratitude for,” he said. “More privileged and higher-income students can’t begin to think about the implications and struggles that come along with being from a lower-income background.”

Last fall, the university launched Make Way: Our Student Initiative, a fundraising effort to increase financial resources for undergraduate scholarships, graduates scholarships and fellowships, and a best-in-class student experience. Through Make Way, WashU aims to increase access and opportunity for students at every level of need.

A chance to delve into the student experience

In his second year, Shafer was chosen to participate in the inaugural class of the Chancellor’s Career Fellowship program. The program provides career-oriented opportunities for first-year or sophomore students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds. The skills Shafer gained helped him land his first internship, and the university provided a stipend to help offset housing costs during the experience.

Now in his senior year at Olin, Shafer has delved deeply into the student experience. He’s majoring in marketing, operations and supply chain management, and he’s minoring in the business of entertainment. He participated in the student-owned consulting firm Bear Studios. He opened Gallery 314, a retail store on campus. And he completed a global management internship at Anheuser-Busch.

“Thanks to my Olin experience, I now feel just as capable as my classmates to take on a high-caliber career.”

After graduation, Shafer will head to Chicago to join the Kraft Heinz Company’s trainee program.

He said he hopes his collegiate success will lead to a fulfilling career and enable him to give back to those who supported his journey—especially the WashU community and his family.

“WashU has helped me learn how to take on—and succeed in—multiple roles. I’ll keep these experiences with me for the rest of my life.”

The Spirit of Washington University newsletter recently published this story.

Russ Flicker, BSBA 1994, is dedicated to staying engaged with his alma mater. Among other volunteer positions, he is president of the Olin Business School Alumni Board. Over the years, he has followed the university’s decade-long effort to attract and enroll the most talented students, regardless of their background.

When he learned about Gateway to Success, WashU’s $1 billion investment in financial aid that enabled the adoption of a need-blind undergraduate admissions policy in late 2021, he was inspired.

“It was such a fabulous announcement,” Flicker says. “It was the right thing for the university to do, and it made me so proud to be a WashU alum. My wife, Lisa, and I had been making gifts for annual scholarships at Olin for many years, but after the announcement, we wanted to participate in a bigger way.”

‘Better career outcomes’

The Flickers committed to increasing their giving for undergraduate scholarships through Make Way: Our Student Initiative, a fundraising effort the university launched in late 2022. They also shifted their support to universitywide scholarships, which allow WashU to award the funding to students in any school. This type of scholarship gift—a Make Way priority—aligns with the interdisciplinary pursuits of the university’s undergraduates, 80% of whom complete double majors or minors.

“I’ve become convinced that in the interconnected world we live in, pooling scholarship resources makes sense,” Flicker says. “We want students to be fulfilled and successful. So many 18-year-olds shift direction by the time they are 20 or 21. The WashU approach of encouraging undergraduates to take courses across different spectrums will lead to better career outcomes and happier alumni.”

“My scholarship made a big difference. Someone changed my life, and if I can help the next generation in the same way, I am thrilled to do it.”

Russ Flicker

Flicker’s insights stem from his interactions with today’s students. AWH Partners, the New York-based real estate investment firm he co-founded, has hosted WashU interns. In addition, Flicker has been a mentor, competition judge and mock interviewer for Olin students.

Closer to home, his daughter, Molly, is a member of Olin’s Class of 2026.

Flicker says WashU students are exceptionally bright, driven and sophisticated, which motivates him to help them professionally and financially. A scholarship recipient himself, he is determined to pay it forward.

“I don’t kid myself about how lucky I’ve been,” he says. “My scholarship made a big difference. Someone changed my life, and if I can help the next generation in the same way, I am thrilled to do it.”

Photo: Longtime scholarship sponsors Lisa and Russ Flicker recently increased their support through a pledge for Make Way: Our Student Initiative.

The Spirit of Washington University newsletter recently published this story.

Merry Mosbacher, Olin MBA 1982, agreed to serve as one of four co-chairs of Make Way: Our Student Initiative in July. She and her husband, Jim, began discussing how her role as a standard-bearer for the recently launched fundraising effort would affect their giving. Longtime scholarship donors, their total contributions for that purpose at the time topped $1 million.

“Our mindset was, ‘OK, this is a leadership role. We need to lead by example,’” says Mosbacher, a retired partner at St. Louis-based financial services firm Edward Jones.

Their multiyear commitment to Make Way is their largest gift to date. They’ve pledged $2 million for undergraduate scholarships as well as internships through the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.

Mosbacher’s work as a member of the Student Access Advisory Committee (SAAC) shaped the gift. Chancellor Andrew D. Martin convened the SAAC in summer 2021 to help develop the university’s plans to improve access and lay the groundwork for Make Way.

“Getting under the hood with university leaders and learning how WashU compares with peer institutions in terms of scholarships and student support changed how I think about philanthropy,” she says.

Annual and endowed scholarships

The Mosbachers opted to split the scholarship portion of their gift between annual scholarships, which are immediately available to help students, and endowed scholarships, which provide a permanent source of funding over time.

“Previously, we had a bias for annual scholarships because we wanted to put our dollars to work for more students right away,” Mosbacher says. “But my involvement with SAAC helped me see that endowed scholarships are equally important and will allow us to have an impact in the long term as well.”

“Getting under the hood with university leaders and learning how WashU compares with peer institutions in terms of scholarships and student support changed how I think about philanthropy.”

Merry Mosbacher

The couple also designated part of their gift to enhance the student experience. Their funding for the Gephardt Institute will finance paid summer internships for undergraduates who work with St. Louis area nonprofits.

“It’s a win-win,” says Mosbacher, whose 38-year career at Edward Jones began with an internship. “It will provide students with meaningful work experience and benefit the St. Louis region, which is an important goal for Jim and me.”

Invest in the legacy

Mosbacher is well suited for her position as a Make Way co-chair. Her volunteer service at WashU includes a stint as president of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society, the university’s giving club for donors who make Annual Fund gifts of $1,000 or more. Along with her fellow co-chairs, Mosbacher champions Make Way by speaking at events and helping organize volunteer networks.

Her message to alumni and friends is simple: The quality of students and alumni ultimately define the university. “When you support Make Way, you invest in the legacy of WashU.”

Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announces Make Way: Our Student Initiative during an Oct. 6 event in Tisch Park. (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University)

Susan Killenberg McGinn from WashU’s marketing and communications department wrote this originally for The Record, the university’s online newspaper. See the full story here. This is a condensed version.

Washington University in St. Louis has announced a transformative fundraising initiative that aims not only to increase financial resources for students at every level of need, including middle-income students, but also to provide a “best-in-class” experience for all students to learn, develop and flourish while on campus and beyond.

Called Make Way: Our Student Initiative, it will build financial resources for undergraduate scholarships, graduate scholarships and fellowships, and the student experience, helping Washington University remove financial barriers for the most qualified students and offer every student the freedom to navigate an educational path.

“With Make Way, we aim to be the most supportive university in the country for all of our students, including first-generation and lower-income students as well as those from middle-income families for whom a WashU education is a significant financial stretch,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin.

“And not only will we help them get herebut we’ll also help them thrive hereso they will leave prepared to make their unique mark on the world,” Martin added. “It is imperative for us to remain competitive, increase our distinction and live up to our moral obligation as a university to open our doors as fully as possible.”

Martin announced Make Way Oct. 6 during a celebratory event in Tisch Park heralded by WashU cheerleaders and the Bear Nation Varsity Band. Faculty, students, donors and friends attended individual school receptions before joining university administrators and Board of Trustees members at the east end of the Danforth Campus for the announcement.

The goal is to raise a minimum of $600 million in gifts and commitments. More than $315 million has been raised already for the initiative thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents and friends. Gifts from some donors encourage others to give. WashU Trustee Lee Fixel, BSBA ’02, and his wife, Lauren, of New York, established the Catalyst Challenge, which provides matching funds for new endowed undergraduate scholarships of $200,000 or more. And Trustee Larry Thomas, BSBA ’77, created the Step Up Challenge to inspire annual scholarship donors to increase their level of support.

To learn more about Make Way and how to support the initiative, visit the Make Way website and read the original version of this story.

Pictured above: Chancellor Andrew D. Martin announces Make Way: Our Student Initiative during an Oct. 6 event in Tisch Park (Photo: Jerry Naunheim Jr./Washington University)