Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Vichet Ou thanks you...

Like good little alumni, Nick and I have been donating a modest sum to the Cornell Annual Fund every year since we graduated. As an undergrad, my dependence on financial aid was, at times, a pressing issue on my mind; and I remember seeing some of the grandiose and/or pointless things that the University spent its money on (Big Red Diversity Arches, anyone?), and vowing that if I ever donated money to the University, I would specify that it was only to go towards financial aid.

And so we have done. This year we got a darling thank you letter from the Fund, telling us about an undergraduate student who may-or-may-not have directly benefited from our donation:

This gift has an immediate impact on several students each year. One of those students, Vichet Ou '07, is an English major in the College of Arts and Sciences. He has been involved with the gymnastics team, the Cornell Dance Sport Club (a competitive ballroom/Latin dance [group]), and has served as the president and an instructor for the Cornell Ballroom Dance Club. Vichet is interested in journalism, creative writing, and dance. He plans to pursue a career in either teaching or aerospace engineering. Because of your gift, students like Vichet have the opportunity to learn and become productive members of society.

As Nick said, "It kind of makes you feel like you're sponsoring a kid in the third world, doesn't it?"


Vichet said...

Hello Susan,

As a first generation Cambodian in America, I'd like to personally thank you for donating that money - apparently, Cornell only sees fit to tell my particular story of need. It's really quite clever, but I digress. In any case, I'd like to assure you that your generous donations helped me get through school.

As for what I'm doing now, I'm still looking for jobs, and I'm working on my first novel. I also teach dance lessons on the side to keep my bills paid. Things are going well.

As for a funny story, my best friend Larissa Paschyn (also class of 2007), donated money to the scholarship funds, and received the exact same letter that you did.

Once again, thank you.

-Vichet Ou

Susan said...

Hey Vichet, thanks for stopping by! I loved hearing your story, sounds like you're involved in a lot of fun activities. Small world—Larissa was in my Russian class at Cornell! Good luck with the job search.

Larissa said...

This is so crazy! I just googled my name and stumbled upon this. It truly is a small small world!

Susan, congrats on your engagement!!!! I am soooo excited for you!!!!

Vichet said...

They totally made up the comment about me wanting to become a teacher or aerospace engineer. That was from like, freshman year. I think they squished all my stuff together... anyway, Larissa directed me back here after she told me about how this was a bigger coincidence than any of us thought originally.

I just got a job in midtown Manhattan at a public relations firm. Now I can repay those loans!

Susan said...

Congrats! Hope you enjoy it.

Jana said...

Dear Susan,

It is a small world because I'm actually best friends with Larissa and Vichet and I, too, would like to thank you for your generous donation.

Best regards,
Jana V.