Gifts to new scholarship fund put Dreamers on path to graduation

First published in Around the O on November 21st, 2018. For the cost of five lattes, anyone can help build a scholarship fund for Dreamers, UO students with Deferred Action Childhood Arrival status and those whose presence in the U.S. is undocumented.

All it takes is a quick visit to DuckFunder for Dreamers. What’s more, all gifts also count toward matching a $75,000 challenge grant.

The need is urgent, said Rosa Chavez, associate director of the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence.

“One student who would be eligible for this new scholarship was working nearly full time as a freshman,” she said. “By sophomore year, the stress of trying to keep up with classes while working swing shift became too much. They haven’t been back this fall.”

Keith Swayne, a 1962 economics graduate, made the gift to launch the Dreamers Scholarships.

“These young Dreamers deserve access to an education so they can reach their potential as contributors to our great country, as have those who have come before them,” said the 1962 economics graduate. “We are a country of immigrants. That is at the core of who we are.”

It’s common for Dreamers with work permits to hold down as many as three jobs during summers to pay for their next year’s tuition, but that doesn’t cover other expenses, said Justine Carpenter, director of multicultural and identity-based support services.

“I know a student who can afford to take only one course each term,” Carpenter said. “It will be a very long road at that rate, but she is determined to succeed.”

People from as far away as Indiana, Ohio and Massachusetts already have given more than $4,500 in the online drive, which aims to raise $10,000 by 10:59 p.m. Dec. 24. Many contributors note that their gift honors a friend or family member.

The DuckFunder campaign kicks off the larger effort to complete the $75,000 match by June 30, 2019. To pitch in, contact Sally Dougherty, College of Arts and Sciences development director, at 541-346-3903 or [email protected].

The Dreamers Scholarships are part of a university investment to ensure that all students have access to support and programming to help them be successful at the UO. This academic year President Michael H. Schill dedicated funding for staff and faculty support for the Dreamers Working Group to provide training for Dreamer allies.

The UO has nearly 200 Dreamer allies who have taken daylong trainings to better understand Dreamer student needs and experiences. Those wishing to become an ally or who would like to get in touch with an ally or the Dreamers Working Group, send a message to [email protected].

Additional resources for Dreamers and their families are available at

—By Melody Ward Leslie, University Communications