Our Success Story begins, of course, with the Patron and Matron of this scholarship.
LOU GRITZO: Lou started looking hard at going to college after working a year as a manager of a grocery store. He had worked hard all through middle and high school (in all kinds of jobs) and after a year of long hours and hard word at the grocery store, he had embraced the notion that a college degree would give him a brighter future, and a better life. Since his hobbies included working on motorcycles, cars, and trucks, he thought Engineering was right for him. He also loved being outside and thoroughly enjoyed working on his grandparents’ and uncles’ farms during the summers when he was younger, so something in agriculture was also appealing. Like many people, he applied to every good school within a day’s drive of where he was working in northern New Mexico. A mutual friend of his roommate at the time was going to Texas Tech – so they decided to take a road trip and check out the campus. He was fortunate enough to meet with the Chair of the Agricultural Engineering Department, Prof Dvorachek. After reviewing his resume, and a very pleasant and productive chat, he offered Lou a $200 scholarship. It doesn’t sound like much now, but it (as major scholarships still do) waived the out of state tuition requirement. Between that and the money he had saved, he could afford to send himself to college! At the end of that summer, he loaded everything he had in a rental trailer, hitched it to the back of his truck, and moved to a small apartment right across from campus. His intent was to get an engineering degree and work for a food company or large Agriculture or power generation company. Ten years later, he received a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics. Obviously, some things changed. Although he got frustrated at times, Texas Tech was good to him. A lot of great faculty went above and beyond to help him succeed. Now it is his turn. This scholarship is intended to offer as much as possible of the same benefit to well deserving, hard working young people that he was fortunate enough to enjoy.
GINGER GASKILL GRITZO: Ginger was born the second daughter to an 18 year old mother and 27 year old father. Life was hard for them. Her mother was not even out of her teens and was taking care of two children under the age of 3 and her father, being in the Air Force, was away much of the time. By the time Ginger was 18 months old the marriage had fallen apart and her mother left her and her sister with their father to raise. Her father left both girls with whomever was willing to take care of them while he worked. When he separated from the Air Force and ran out of people to leave his children with, he turned them over to the state-run foster program for placement in temporary homes. Ginger remained in foster care for eight years. When it was time to go to college, there was no assistance for kids with her background other than small grants and loans, which had to be paid back with interest. This scholarship is intended to help relieve the financial burden of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, so that foster kids can focus on being role models and mentors to the next generation.