Chasing Dreams, Reaching Achievement
Eileen Fridline created a bequest to endow scholarships for non-traditional students at the Anderson School of Management (ASM) to celebrate reaching her dream to earn her college degree. She and her husband, Ken, hope the gift will encourage future generations of business students to pursue their dreams of education.
Ken and Eileen Fridline were daunted as adults trying to complete college one or two classes at a time. Their journey was long and challenging, but they found comfort and support in one another. Their partnership provided the encouragement each needed to strive for greater success, knowledge and achievement. In May 2000 the Fridlines received their bachelor's degrees in management information systems from ASM after a 16-year pursuit.
"I remember days when I was exhausted and didn't want to go to school. Some days I was overwhelmed and really needed an extra push to get through without giving up," explains Eileen. "Ken was there for me during those times. I want to be there for students who don't have someone to lean on."
A non-traditional student is typically an older person who is working and may be responsible for children or a spouse. Many of these individuals are not eligible for scholarships due to their part-time school schedules. High levels of responsibility and low levels of financial support can create a recipe for failure. Eileen hopes to assist such students to combat the negative forces and provide encouragement and incentive.
"An education provides the foundation for a lifetime of opportunities and a greater depth of knowledge to enrich your life," says Ken, a former U.S. Marine and retired supervisor for the Quality Assurance Directorate of Kirtland Air Force Base. Eileen, a trained secretary and health insurance broker, continues, "We were established in successful careers, but wanted the experience and knowledge provided by a college education."
The Fridlines developed close relationships with classmates and professors like Anderson Information Systems Professor Laurie Shatzberg, who describes the Fridlines as generous, insightful and respectful. These relationships, coupled with the impressive quality of education they received, influenced the Fridlines greatly. Eileen decided to bequeath part of her estate to UNM to establish endowed scholarship funds as a way of giving back to Anderson and supporting non-traditional students.
"Despite having achieved successful careers, Eileen and Ken recognized the value of higher education and decided to complete their degrees at a time in their life when most people would turn to easier pursuits," explains ASM Dean Douglas M. Brown. "Their courage and good nature served them well when they were students, and now that same courage and selflessness has guided Eileen to make an unforgettable gift to help other non-traditional learners. Future students who face challenges will have new scholarship support, and they will have Eileen and Ken's remarkable story to guide them."
"Eileen and Ken are an inspiration to us all," says Ernest Rodriguez-Naaz, ASM development officer. "They possess a profound understanding of the role that education has played in their lives and are committed to giving back to the community and to the next generation of business leaders."
"I hope this gift encourages non-traditional students whose education may take a little longer than their traditional peers," says Eileen. "Remember that your education is worth all the time and hard work. And take heart; if we can do it, you can too!"
The UNM Foundation and the Anderson School of Management were saddened to learn of the death of Eileen Fridline on Sept. 30, 2009