Because I can! No, it is not a flip answer. It is a true statement. I can give back to the university because I received a good education that served as the foundation for my financial success later in life.
I did not come from a family of college graduates, or from a family with more than modest means. As far as I know, I was the first to complete a bachelor’s degree and later a master’s. My mother was a strong force in stressing education as the way to a good job and, she hoped, financial stability. My father was willing to pay what was then a pretty substantial sum for tuition, room and board. In addition to my education, I also had a strong personal drive to succeed at whatever life had to offer.
I strongly believe that starting as a math major, then switching to English were important factors in my success. It meant that I could understand the financial side of business, and I could write in clear English, something that many programmers and technicians were not able to achieve. My study of French also was a major help when I worked internationally and helped me earn recognition in that environment.
Running two companies was enough to keep me up nights worrying about finances, contractors and clientele, but it was also very rewarding to know that I was bringing good books to the attention of librarians and teachers and eventually providing them with a rich and comprehensive database about children’s literature.
Fortunately, both of my businesses were profitable, and the money I earned has been carefully invested. Thus, the university will benefit from our estate, through our bequest to provide need-based scholarships for students living in the Language House or the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. It should support the dreams and aspirations of the next generation of students who are also interested in the reading, writing and language skills that I believe will bring great success to their futures.
Marilyn Courtot is a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Senate and owner and president of Children’s Literature and the CLCD Company. Currently, she and her husband Charles Wyman spend most of their time traveling around the world.
I can give back to the university because I received a good education that served as the foundation for my financial success later in life.