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Recent graduate establishes scholarship

OU Foundation, Priority newsletter

Pictured: Juan Galindo, a recent OU graduate, establishes a new Colombian OU Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Two months before graduation, most college seniors are thinking about capstones, diplomas and starting salaries. Juan Galindo, who  graduated in May with a degree in petroleum engineering, was thinking about scholarships. Not getting one, endowing one.

The Colombian native came to the United States five years ago after he was accepted to the University of Oklahoma, where his cousin was already a student in the College of Engineering. In his first semester, he learned English and how hard it was to make ends meet as an international student. He found friends in the Colombian Student Association (COLSA) and learned about scholarships available to him through the Colombian OU Alumni Association (COUAA).

COLSA would always have a special place in his heart for understanding the challenges international students face and working to assist them. While serving as president of the organization, Galindo turned the tables at this year’s Colombian Night festivities by announcing that he was establishing a scholarship endowment of his own. “Because of COLSA, COUAA has given me about $9,000 in scholarships, and I always wanted to give it back,” he said. When he accepted a job offer that came with a signing bonus, he saw a chance to do just that.

He discussed his idea with Yoana Walschap, faculty adviser for COLSA, who suggested he use his gift to establish an endowment. Galindo liked the idea of doing something in perpetuity, but realized he could reach more people if he had a little help from his friends. He issued a pledge to match the first $10,000 in gifts to the new Colombian OU Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Fund over the next two years.

“I think the scholarship is a good way to leave a mark in the OU community for years to come,” Galindo said. “There are a lot of engineers who have graduated with help from COLSA, and it is their duty to give it back. People come and go and the only thing that stays behind is their legacy.”

For more information on the scholarship, contact Ameil Shadid, at (405) 325-0463 or