|Donors, like students, come from a variety of backgrounds. Most contributions to the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) are made to the college’s Learning. Leading. Fund, but donors to that fund vary widely in their motivations and expectations. Regardless of their reasons for giving, donors to NSM agree that it is the right thing to do.
Will Rivas (‘02), a mathematics teacher at Revere Middle School, credits his parents and the Hispanic culture for endowing him with a sense of philanthropy. “There is a Spanish saying,” Rivas says. “‘Haz bien, y no mires a quien,’ which translates to ‘Do good to others without discrimination.’”
Like many young NSM alumni, Rivas recently made his first gift to the college through the Learning. Leading. Fund. “To tell the truth, it just seemed like the right thing to do. I was asked to donate, so I donated within my means.”
Rivas explained that his motivation for giving back is not tied to expectations or rewards of any kind. “Every person needs help in many stages of their life, and I enjoy helping others any way I can,” he said. “The act of giving is, in itself, its own reward.”
Kathy O’Keefe, DDS (UH ‘81) has been a donor to the college since 1987. O’Keefe explained that she feels a similar motivation to give back. However, her giving is the result of a specific fondness and appreciation for her time and experience here. “I feel obligated to the University of Houston for leading me to my desired career and because I received a top-notch education there,” she explained.
O’Keefe recalled an experience during her time on campus, when she was a member of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society. A group of dentists had come to campus to speak to the society’s members. “That’s when I knew I wanted to be a dentist,” O’Keefe said.
When asked about her expectations following a gift, O’Keefe agreed that some information on how the gift was put to work would be welcome. However, O’Keefe said that her real motivation was to “give back” to those who had helped and motivated her as a student.