Readers respond: Financial aid crucial to Oregon students

First published in The Oregonian on June 15, 2021.

By Thomas Stewart, Eugene

As a veteran, corporate investor, proud graduate and former trustee of the University of Oregon, I hope the Oregon Legislature will secure our state’s present and future well-being by expanding the Oregon Opportunity Grant. Investing in student financial aid is the key to our state’s recovery and long-term prosperity.

I speak from experience. I participated in ROTC at UO in the early ’70s and received my bachelor’s degree in 1974. I benefited from small scholarships and grants, work-study programs and loans. Without Oregon financial aid, I would never have graduated. This assistance was invaluable to my future success. I would go on to become a Navy commander, an executive director at Morgan Stanley, and a trustee and currently chairman of the investment committee for the largest charitable organization in the U.S. I’m proof of the dividends the Opportunity Grant Program can produce.

As an alumnus, I care deeply about ensuring that all Oregon students have these same advantages. But it’s not just about our students; it’s about the future of our state and our nation. World-class corporations need workers with a world-class education, and we’ll never be able to cultivate them in Oregon if we don’t invest in the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon’s main need-based financial aid program. When I was a struggling undergraduate, financial aid was the wind beneath my wings. It must be made available to students today. Send this message to legislators: Invest in our world-class future by investing in financial aid.


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