Scholarships Help Alumni to See the Joy

by Mahelet Aklilu, Office of Development Communications

University of San Francisco alumni, Lo Schiavo Legacy Members, and scholarship donors Sheila and Mike Goodwin ’70 share the importance of giving.

Mike and Sheila Goodwin
Mike Goodwin ’70 (L) & Sheila Goodwin (R) ’70.

Can you both share your upbringing and personal journey that led you to become involved in philanthropy?

Sheila: Growing up, we both went to Catholic schools and were encouraged to give back in some way, so it was ingrained in us to help out others. In addition to my school, my parents were always looking for organizations they could support so I grew up with that pattern from my parents.

Mike: My dad was a high school teacher and principal and although we didn’t have sophisticated fundraising, through him I got quite a bit of exposure to what it costs to support a school with events like bingo games, raffles, and selling chocolates.

When we first got married, we knew we wanted to give and even though we didn't have a lot of money, philanthropy was still important to us, so we started off making small gifts to churches and hospices.

How do you believe scholarships contribute to creating a positive change for a student?

Mike: I've worked in universities, and I’ve had the chance to see and hear from students how scholarships have impacted them. When you provide a student with a scholarship, they’re not going to have as much debt to worry about. They're going to be able to concentrate a bit more on their education and on being involved in the university, as opposed to working to keep up with costs.

Sheila: When you know somebody cares about you enough to put some money into your education, it makes you want to work harder to maintain grades but also to show the people who gave you that money that it was well spent.    

Can you share a story/experience that motivated you to contribute to education through scholarships?

Mike: When I was a student at USF, I was given a scholarship by a donor, and I was able to use that for my education. Receiving that scholarship truly blew me away — there were people who were thoughtful about trying to help the next generation of students. Someone being that kind to me, along with my experiences growing up made me want to pay it forward.

What is the importance of philanthropy to you and how has it shaped your values and beliefs?

Mike: Having worked in philanthropy and fundraising you get to see the joy that people get from giving gifts and seeing how their investment makes a difference. Seeing the joy in people’s reactions invites you to give as well.

We have friends and role models who care about our society and choose to make a difference through their professional careers. Philanthropy became something that we wanted to be a part of, and that’s still something we continue to do now.

How do you envision the long-term effects of your scholarships on students’ lives and the community?

Sheila: I hope our recipients can find their own path to success post-grad and hopefully, at some point, they’ll be able to give back to the next generation as well.

Mike: Higher education performs a public good — you learn what it means to be a good citizen and to contribute to society. I just hope the people whom we support go out and find a way to help better our society, too.


Learn more about how you can choose to make a difference through the gift of education and support students at USF.