In the spring of 2017, when Kaitlyn Grant ’20 was a UNH freshman, she was invited to a university event where she would get the chance to thank the donor who created her scholarship in person.
She was petrified.
“I mean, here I am about to meet this guy who is paying for my education... I was scared to disappoint him, and I was nervous,” Grant remembers.
But soon, the shy freshman found herself at ease in conversation with the outgoing alum — Andy Beaupre ’75. They quickly connected over their shared upbringing (both grew up in Somersworth) and their interest in the creative and communications arts (Grant is a studio art major and creative writing minor, and Beaupre is an entrepreneur who’s led a successful career in public relations and communications).
In 2000, when Andy and Karen Beaupre decided to create a scholarship at UNH for Somersworth High School graduates, they knew just the kind of student they wanted to support. They called it the Beaupre Entrepreneurial Scholarship.
“It was all about drive. We wanted to support someone who was working hard in school, who was caring, who was building a positive culture wherever they were. GPA wasn’t as important to us as character,” explains Andy. And Kaitlyn had it.
“Kaitlyn is pretty shy at first, but in talking to her, we realized she’s a real sparkplug, a creative force,” he explains.
The connection is authentic — part friendship, part mentorship — with no agenda, Beaupre says. “We’re just trying to connect as human beings, and I’m probably trying to help her in my own way.” Beaupre has encouraged Grant to launch an online portfolio of her graphic design work, for example, and is on the lookout for a personal or professional connection he might have to the video game industry, as Grant hopes to have a career in video game design once she graduates. He also encourages her not to compare herself to others. “Embrace the uniqueness of who you are, and appreciate those things about yourself,” he often says.
Grant says the financial support solidified her decision to come to UNH, and while she works a job in the MUB, this scholarship has meant she hasn’t had to fret each semester about how she’ll pay her tuition.
“I’ve been able to focus more on my education, my artwork and my job in the MUB, rather than always worrying about finances,” she says. “Plus, this has given me a connection to someone who is well-versed in the professional world, someone I can go to who knows me, so I can ask him questions on anything career-related.”
Beaupre says he and Karen couldn’t be happier to know who is benefiting from their gift and hopes that fellow UNH supporters get the opportunity to do the same.
“I think for anyone who has created or contributed to a scholarship, it’s really about making the world a better place and helping out,” he says. “We wanted to help a particular student make a big leap in their life from high school to college. It’s about more than just giving money, it’s making a connection with the people who will benefit.”