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Allison Rhodes '95 ex

Allison Rhodes is grateful to Hardin-Simmons for the opportunities that shaped and prepared her for life.

Allison Rhodes is grateful to Hardin-Simmons for the opportunities that shaped and prepared her for life.

Hardin-Simmons has been a blessing to my family for more than 100 years with over 20 members of my immediate and extended family having attended the college. I chose HSU because I knew I would receive a quality education in a supportive, Christian environment, and my parents, having raised me in small towns, felt comfortable leaving me in Abilene. My education was made possible in large part to scholarships, so I feel it is now my time to return the favor. I am testament to the fact that higher education can transform one's life, and cost should not make a great education prohibitive.

I will always be grateful to Hardin-Simmons for the opportunities that shaped and prepared me for life. Along with a quality academic program, I gained valuable leadership experiences participating in Sigma Alpha, Student Congress, Concert Band, and Model United Nations. It was also a privilege to be part of the inaugural class of the Leadership Studies program.

In an unusual twist, Hardin-Simmons opened the door for me to pursue a long-held dream and transfer to an Ivy League college after my sophomore year. I remember being worried of disappointing Dr. Hall when I shared the news. To my surprise, he was incredibly supportive and went out of his way to contact Hardin-Simmons alumni who had lived in New York City to share advice about living in our nation's largest city - something this small town girl knew nothing about!

I continued to live and work in NYC for several years before moving back to Texas to earn my MBA at UT, followed by a relocation to Dallas. In 2014, I received an invitation to an alumni dinner in the Dallas area, hosted by Dr. Hall. That evening I had a fabulous time visiting with Dr. and Mrs. Hall, reconnecting with a sorority sister, former classmates, and even a friend of my grandfather's from the class of 1949. Hardin-Simmons was back in my life!

Following a trip to campus last year where I reminisced about the wonderful times I had with friends, the faculty who encouraged me, and my family's history with Hardin-Simmons, I realized that it was time to do something to give back. So my family and I established an endowed scholarship; to create opportunities for future leaders and hard-working students. It feels good to know that for generations to come, students will benefit from these gifts and be encouraged in their academic pursuits.

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