Alumni Make a Difference in the Everyday Lives of Students
M. Erin Dougherty, MPA’03,’07
Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Alumna Cornelia McCowan (second from right) turned her birthday party into an opportunity to raise funds for UT Dallas students who need textbooks.

Alumna Cornelia McCowan (second from right) turned her birthday party into an opportunity to raise funds for UT Dallas students who need textbooks.

Alumni can make a difference in the everyday lives of current students, as colleagues of Cornelia McCowan BS’98 can attest. She spent her 35th birthday celebrating with her family and friends—and raising money for the Academic Bridge Program (ABP), which provides financial support, mentoring and essentials to UT Dallas students who graduated from underrepresented school districts.

During her 10 years as ABP project supervisor, McCowan observed that, while the program assisted students with on-campus housing, tuition and tutoring, many participants struggled to afford textbooks. They would simply attend classes without the required school books. “My birthday wish was for our students to have books for the upcoming semester—so in lieu of birthday gifts, I asked that friends and family make a donation to the Academic Bridge Book Fund,” said McCowan.

The dozen gifts made in McCowan’s honor not only help pay for textbooks, but also let students remain focused on their priorities: studying and graduation. Even with the challenges ABP students face, they graduate at a rate that is almost 10 percent higher than the University average. Hats off to Cornelia for making an impact on some of our most promising and deserving students.

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