“My parents, who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school beyond the sixth grade, cannot believe the strides I have made because of Iowa Edge.”

jose-diazJose Diaz filled out his college applications with few expectations. The first-generation college hopeful from Illinois actually had little hope that he would ever realize his dreams of going to college.

His grades were strong and he was an involved student, but he knew that his family could not afford to send him.

To his surprise, though, Diaz was quickly welcomed to the University of Iowa by Iowa Edge, a program geared toward ensuring a successful academic and social transition to the UI for first-generation and underrepresented students.

“I was so excited to discover that I qualified to be a part of a program that provides orientation, programming, community building, and academic counseling—I even received financial aid through Iowa Edge,” said Diaz.

Fast-forward to today: Jose is a top student in the University of Iowa Henry B. Tippie College of Business. He’s vice president of the Tippie Senate, an advisory board for the Undergraduate Program Office, and has served as a peer advisor for Iowa Edge, among other activities. Last summer, he interned at JPMorgan Chase & Co. and will return to the firm after he graduates in May.
His parents are incredibly proud.

“My parents, who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school beyond the sixth grade, cannot believe the strides I have made because of the University of Iowa and, specifically, the generous donors who created Iowa Edge,” said Diaz.

Those donors are Kevin and Donna Gruneich, whose gifts to the University of Iowa and to the For Iowa. Forever More. campaign, have made a difference for so many UI students. Kevin is a 1980 graduate of the UI, and he and Donna live in Park City, Utah.

“I am so grateful to the Gruneichs,” said Diaz. “This is just my story—I can only imagine what they have done for other students like me.”