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Believing in the Extraordinary

Emergency grant and support system helps determined student overcome setbacks.

People  |  Nov 21, 2017  |  By UNLV Foundation

Donor Christina Hixson, left, and journalism and media studies student De'Liza Dulatre-Galimidi. (UNLV Creative Services)

Editor's Note: 

This is part of the In UNLV We Trust series. These stories explore the reasons donors give to UNLV and the direct impact they have on the beneficiaries of their gifts.

“If I didn’t get this scholarship, I wouldn’t be in school,” says De'Liza Dulatre-Galimidi, a senior journalism and media studies major at the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. She was working on campus and going to school full time, but having trouble making ends meet.

Her father and brother-in-law had recently died, and she suddenly became the only one in the household who had a job.

“So many things were happening in my life. I was working so hard to support my mom and sister and her kids, and we were recovering from the losses,” she says. “But I was fiercely determined to stay in school.”

Her supervisor at the office of student engagement and diversity, where she worked as a program assistant, was able to help her get an emergency grant, and the next semester she applied for the Hixson-Lied Success Scholarship.

Dulatre-Galimidi earned the competitive award, and it changed more than just her financial picture.

“It was amazing. Suddenly I had a mentor, an academic success coach, and a support system with my peers in the program,” she says. “It’s so awesome to have a team. I know that other people are rooting for me, and you do the same for them.

“The essence of being a Hixson-Lied scholar is that you get to give, because you received,” Dulatre-Galimidi says, echoing the guiding principle of the scholarship’s namesake, Christina M. Hixson.

“I strongly believe that extraordinary things can be done by ordinary people,” Hixson explains. “You just have to give them the opportunity.”

That opportunity is being realized through the Hixson-Lied Success Scholarship program. Funded in perpetuity through a $2 million gift from the Lied Foundation Trust and launched in 2012, it was named in honor of Hixson and Ernst F. Lied.

The program provides economically and academically challenged Nevada students with the chance to excel.

“A support system is so important,” Hixson says. “If a student’s parents didn’t go to college, the experience can be discouraging.” The Academic Success Center, where the program is housed, provides support to help students stay engaged and on track.

Hixson-Lied Success scholars not only receive help earning their degrees, but also are expected to serve others as peer mentors and volunteers.

That’s no problem for Dulatre-Galimidi, who overflows with the giving spirit — ready to help anyone she can. She is especially grateful to Hixson.

“I always tear up a little bit when I talk about Ms. Hixson. She’s helped me so much. She’s so personable and down-to-earth. She is a person who understands hard work, and when someone gives you something like this, you want to make them super proud. It’s super important to me.

“So when I achieve things like being on the dean’s list, it’s not just for me. It’s for the people who support me.”

Learn more about UNLV Foundation giving programs.