Sharon and Mark Hazelgrove

A Dream Realized

Sharon Hazelgrove (Parent ’10)

Sharon Hazelgrove’s son Mark (Engr ’10) was in fifth grade when he decided he wanted to go to U.Va.

“He didn’t even apply to anyplace else,” Hazelgrove said. “His grades were never lower than an ‘A’ all through middle school and high school, because he was determined to go to U.Va.”

With the help of AccessUVa, a financial aid program that makes higher education affordable for all academically qualified students, Mark graduated with highest honors from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. He’s now working on a master’s degree at Southern Connecticut State University with hopes for law school afterward. But with characteristic determination, he’s also spending two years teaching seventh grade algebra through the national Teach for America (TFA) program.

“It’s very challenging,” Hazelgrove said of her son’s TFA assignment. “A lot of these children don’t have the parental support to encourage them to go to school. They give the teachers a hard time.”

When Hazelgrove asked her son why he wanted to do this, she wasn’t surprised when he said, “I just feel compelled to give back. I went to U.Va. I walked the Lawn; that was my dream. I’m going to help some of these kids who may have a dream and don’t have any way to get there.”

Her son’s generosity made Hazelgrove want to give something back, too. And while her gift to the University wasn’t nearly as much as she would like to offer, her employer doubled it with matching funds.

“It was given with gratitude and high regard for what [U.Va.] did for us,” she said. “Without AccessUVa, Mark would certainly not have achieved his dream of attending the University.”