Claire Kimilu '17 CLAS


What brought me to Villanova was the sense of community and support. I came from a really close high school, we were like a big family. I wanted to go somewhere that had the same feeling—where I felt at home and I felt like my professors would know me just as well as my teachers in high school knew me.

There is an aspect of love and community and excitement at Villanova. You can see it on campus—there’s always someone smiling, always someone saying hello to a professor or a classmate. People really want to be here. It’s not an obligation; it’s not something we’re doing for our parents or to get ahead. It’s because we’re passionate about the subjects we’re learning and our professors are passionate about teaching us.

I was fortunate to receive the Gibson Family Endowed Scholarship, which eased the financial burdens of coming to Villanova. I knew I wanted to be here, and I knew this was a place where I could thrive. But there was also the initial question of whether I could put this burden on my family.

When I found out the Gibsons had so generously been willing to help me in my journey, I was over the moon. I was able to say, Yes, I can do this. A door has been opened for me, and I’m going to take that opportunity.

In August, I received a letter than said I had been awarded a second scholarship, this time from the Randazzo family. I felt very touched because I hadn’t met this family, but they were willing to support me. It was a very humbling experience and it was also a confidence booster because I knew there were people out there rooting for me.

My scholarships have enabled me to immerse myself in other activities. Instead of taking on more working hours, I have more time to be a member of things like Catholic Relief Service Ambassadors. It’s opened me to so many opportunities to network and explore and find myself. I recently was able to go all the way to Australia—something I never thought I would be able to do—and I met other students who are pursuing medicine. It was great to see people with my own passions and interests. It exposed me to so many different views that I never would have been able to experience personally. That experience probably never would have happened if I hadn’t come to Villanova or had this financial support.

Every day, I wake up and look at where I am, and I am very grateful to know that I can receive an education—not just any education, but a high quality education that a lot of my family members have never experienced. Because of Villanova, I am more aware of how I can impact the life of someone next to me, and more aware of the need to act and be the change you want to see in the world. I look at each struggle not as an obstacle, but something I can overcome. I’m proud to be a Villanovan and what that embodies: having the passion and desire to help the world; to make difference and ignite change.