As a student who graduated from CI with the help of scholarships, Crystal Gonzalez (2009 B.A. Communication) understands the profound impact that donors can have on college students.
That's why she now uses skills she honed as a student in the Communication Program to reach out to donors as Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of La Verne, which serves more than 8,600 students in campus and online programs.
“I believe every student deserves to go to college and create their own experience as I did,” she said. “Now I get to help provide the same opportunities for students that I had.”
A first-generation college student, Gonzalez said she found unprecedented friendships, encouragement and opportunity at CI. She enjoyed challenging classes and encouraging professors, lived on campus, traveled abroad, and graduated in 3 ½ years with a 3.7 GPA.
She also found her future career. After taking a job as a student assistant in the CI Foundation office, Gonzalez saw first-hand the work that went into fundraising, donor cultivation and awarding scholarships.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” she recalled. “I got incredible exposure to almost every aspect of University Advancement that set me up for success in my career.”
Her solid experience helped her land her current job, where she works with large donors to secure planned gifts. She also earned her Master of Science in Leadership and Management in 1 ½ years while working full-time.
“I love what I do,” Gonzalez said. “Every day, I see donors who genuinely care about helping people better themselves and students who are evolving and thriving because of those opportunities.”
Gonzalez stays closely connected to CI as a donor herself and by driving back to attend alumni and fundraising events.
“CI did so much for me; I'll give to the best of my ability,” she said. “Donors are interested in seeing where their money is going. I want to show them that it's being put to good use.”