Paying it Forward
Legendary tennis world champion, social activist and UCLA alumnus Arthur Ashe once said: "From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life."
Caroline Nahas, a member of the UCLA Anderson Board of Visitors, understands that sentiment better than most. An act of generosity influenced her life, and through the Caroline and Richard Nahas Fellowship, that act has since been echoed for many UCLA Anderson students.
Caroline remembers vividly the day an anonymous act of giving impacted her life. She was in her junior year as an undergraduate at UCLA, her father's alma mater, when she learned some sobering news. Her father's business was faltering, putting her tuition and housing obligations in jeopardy. Caroline was working part-time and considered taking on more hours, but more work meant less time for academic studies and moving out of her sorority house where she was President-elect.
Then, just when things looked pretty bleak, a sorority alumna who became aware of Caroline's situation committed funds to cover her housing for the remainder of her junior and senior years. The gift enabled her to maintain her classes and to become president. That kind act had a huge impact on Caroline and her life.
"To this day, I still remember the incredulous feeling that someone I did not even know gave selflessly to help me financially and to tap into my potential as a leader. Even now, I do not know the identity of the donor. It was, and continues to be, one of the most meaningful things that has ever happened to me," says Caroline as her eyes well up. "That was the catalyst for us, when we thought about setting up the fellowship. The fellowship is changing the lives of people we don't even know but who like me, are given the opportunity for a life-changing education and experience."
The Nahases are not graduates of UCLA Anderson, but they believe in its mission, students, graduates and faculty, and the reach those groups have to create a better business community. This is one reason they are active members of UCLA Anderson's Board of Visitors.
"Anderson has been illuminating for us. The diversity of the people and thought expand our knowledge base," says Richard. "When you're in business and doing well, you can get too focused on that. Also, more than anything else, education is a leveler."
Adds Caroline: "To be able to give back is a privilege."