Two alums. Ten years. Forty students.
George '88G and Mary '90G Donovan have helped dozens make the most of their UNH experience and avoid taking on crippling debt. Just ask one of the most recent Donovan Family Scholarship recipients, Alexandria “Lexy” Hidrovo '18. As a first-generation college student, she did not realize how expensive college was until she took out her first loans.
“The Donovan Family Scholarship inspired me because I felt like this family cared about people like me who don’t have the financial resources and struggle throughout college because of it,” the senior environmental engineering major says. Their gift has inspired Hidrovo to earn a graduate degree and pursue a career that she hopes will some day allow her to create her own scholarship to support struggling students.
That’s exactly the type of end result the Donovans envisioned when they created the Donovan Family Scholarship to support students enrolled in UNH’s four TRIO programs. Their philanthropy helps UNH retain high-achieving, underrepresented undergraduates with financial need. For a decade now, their annual contribution has provided one student each from Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, Student Support Services and the McNair Scholars Program with a $2,500 scholarship. During UNH’s CELEBRATE 150 campaign, they made a five-year commitment to maintaining their support.
The couple learned firsthand the value of a UNH education during their MBA studies. In fact, it was a UNH alumnus who first hired George to work at the company he would one day own and that would make it possible for the Donovans to give so much back.
“Mary and I started down this road giving the money in the hope that it will do some good. With the level of education and the price point, UNH is a really good value proposition,” George Donovan says. Mary Donovan recalls how a full scholarship made attending graduate school possible. “This is a way for me to be paying back and thanking the school for what it did for me,” she says.
As residents of New Hampshire’s Seacoast area, the Donovans also have seen UNH’s positive impact on local communities. “UNH has educated so many of our fellow employers and employees, our friends and our friends’ children,” Mary Donovan says. “UNH makes a huge economic impact on the region. The stronger the university is, the stronger the whole state is going to be.”
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To make a gift to endow a fund or support a program, or if you’re considering a bequest, contact Troy Finn.
For her part, Hidrovo is already giving back in her own way: After participating in UNH Connect, a program that helps first-generation and underrepresented students make the transition to college, she spent two years as a mentor and was promoted to team leader as a senior. As a McNair Scholar, she is involved in research on drinking-water treatment and will begin her master’s program in environmental engineering at UNH this fall.
“I just want the Donovans to know that they are making such a difference in people’s lives,” she says.
Originally published in IMPACT Spring 2018