Alumna Once Awarded Scholarship Returns to Support Students
Feb. 1, 2013
For many college students, a scholarship is the difference between getting a degree and dropping out. Such was the case for Jefflyn Williamson BS ’83.
A first-generation college student, Williamson came to UT Dallas after working for three years as a flight attendant. Although her tenacity would prove to be an asset in the classroom, her limited bank account threatened to keep a degree out of reach.
Jefflyn Williamson BS'83 (center) recently met with members of the Northwood Woman's Club, which once awarded her a college scholarship. Her experience inspired her to create scholarship funds for UT Dallas students.
That financial burden was eased when Williamson learned she had received a scholarship from the Northwood Woman’s Club (NWC), a local philanthropic organization.
The scholarship was established to help students who needed to return to school to become self-sufficient. Free from worry about mounting tuition bills, Williamson was able to thrive on campus, graduate and pursue a successful career in commercial real estate.
More than 30 years later, Williamson has decided to pay that gift forward by helping UT Dallas students. She recently established the “Jefflyn Williamson Endowment for Women” and the Jefflyn Williamson Opportunity Fund, and has included the University in her estate planning.
Amid hugs and tears, Williamson recently shared her story with Northwood Woman’s Club members and told them about the impact that the funds had had on her student life, on her future, and on her decision to help other UT Dallas students.
“Occasionally we have the opportunity to meet prior scholarship recipients and to hear the rest of their story,” said Peggy Laidlaw, NWC President. “That experience is gratifying and re-energizes us as we continue to look to the future, and new student applications. We were stunned and then thrilled to learn that one of our earliest scholarship awards was instrumental in such success as that achieved by Jefflyn Williamson.”
The club plans to share Williamson’s story with every member, starting with their meeting and scholarship banquet in May, where Williamson will be the keynote speaker.
“I am thrilled to know my legacy will live on through these endowments,” Williamson said. “Long after I’m gone, students will still benefit from an education at UT Dallas.”
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