He’s not an alumnus. His children went to other universities. In truth, there was no earthly reason for Scott MacDonald to want to help students pay their way through USD — except for his sincere desire to make a difference in the lives of young people.
The endowed scholarships he’s funded at other schools have proven to be life-changing for recipients. And now, thanks to his generosity, four first-year USD students will become MacDonald Community Scholars this fall.
“I believe that higher education in the United States should include a funding element for need-based students that empowers and allows them to go on and have an impact on others,” MacDonald explains.
While he was able to work part-time to pay his own way through college, he believes that option isn’t realistic for most students these days. His solution? To provide USD’s MacDonald Scholars with $5,000 per year to help with costs associated with their college career.
In exchange, they promise to volunteer 280 hours of community service annually and participate in the Karen and Tom Mulvaney Center for Community Awareness and Social Action’s leadership program. Each year, a new cohort will join the program.
“The next wave of young people that are going through school, empowered and directed and mentored, are going to do wondrous things, not only during the time they’re in school, but beyond. I believe it truly will make society a better place to live.”
“What we’ve seen with these scholars elsewhere is that, by the time they’re juniors, they’re spreading their wings, coming up with their own projects and their own ideas. As long as they have a mentor who can give them advice, they’re off and running,” says MacDonald.
“When you deal with young people and their enthusiasm — and the fact that they haven’t failed before — well, they tend to do amazing things.” His hope is to inspire others to follow his lead. “This is a way to have a legacy that lasts forever. If you can endow a pay-it-forward scholarship, you’ll know that some student will be out there making life better in your name, forever.”
— Julene Snyder