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Seattle University


Making Dreams Real

Written by Mike Thee
September 23, 2010

Dr. Chris Holder, ’03, shared that the Costco Scholarship allowed him to become a doctor at the 11th Annual Costco Scholarship Breakfast on Sept. 23. Holder was part of a discussion moderated by President Stephen Sundborg, S.J.

As the Costco Scholars Fund enters its second decade, its impact seems to only be increasing. This year's breakfast, held at Seattle University, raised more than $3 million in scholarship assistance for underrepresented minority students at SU and the University of Washington. Since the Costco Scholars Program was initiated by Costco's Jim Sinegal (CEO) and Jeff Brotman (chair of the board) in 2000, nearly $25 million has been raised for students at the two schools.

At the breakfast, Holder talked about leaving SU to volunteer with Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity and thinking he wouldn’t be able to continue his studies. “At the time, I was concerned with my indebtedness from the first two years of attending SU,” he said. “I had decided that when I returned…to Seattle I would live here for a year, trying to get in-state residency.”

But when he got back from India, Holder was greeted with a life-changing surprise. Sifting through his mail, he came upon a letter informing him he had been awarded the Costco Scholarship. He quickly registered for classes and went on to earn his pre-med degree from SU and then a doctorate in naturopathic medicine and a master’s in acupuncture from Bastyr University.

Holder said the Costco Scholarship “really opened doors for me. Without this program here, I would not have been able to continue my dream of becoming a physician.”

SU student and Costco Scholarship recipient Essentia Rivera served as an emcee for the breakfast and spoke movingly of the death of her father five years ago and the challenges she and her family have faced. She shared a story of how her mother was taking classes at SU and struggling financially when she was approached on campus one day by James McGoldrick, S.J., who gave her $100 of his own money on the spot.