48 Students Receive $150,000 in Alumni Scholarships
SPOKANE, Wash. - Niece Shafer, a 1971 Gonzaga University alumna and the daughter of Harry and Harriet Leppek, devoted supporters of the University who were instrumental in building the Alumni Association Scholarship, was on hand recently when 48 students received a total of $150,000 in scholarship funds.
In a campus ceremony on April 18, Shafer reflected on her father's kindness and generosity and shared a story about the passing a few years ago of one of her dear friends. Days after her friend's death, Shafer reluctantly kept her appointment with a personal trainer. The trainer could tell Shafer was upset and shared the "dash" theory with her.
"She said that your dash is in between when you are born and when you pass away: that's the dash. It doesn't matter when you were born or when you pass away, what counts is the dash," Shafer told the students. "You guys all are in the time when you are choosing your paths. Think of what you want to do with your dash. I have to say my dad lived that dash wonderfully and he always wanted to give back."
Shafer urged the students to "live your dash the best that you can and give to other people, pay it forward" as her father did so frequently.
Harry Leppek, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Gonzaga in 2001, practiced law in East Los Angeles for 62 years and loved forming relationships and helping those in need. He greeted people as he walked to and from work, conversed with the homeless on the steps of the courthouse, and helped so many.
In 1984, Harry donated a car to be raffled at the Alumni Scholarship Benefit. Every year since, the Leppeks helped GU students by donating to the Alumni Scholarship Benefit, which quickly became a premier event. Harry attended every benefit, except one, until he passed in 2004. After that, Harriet carried on the tradition until she passed away in 2012.
Since the scholarship began, it has provided over 2,000 awards totaling more than $2.4 million.
After Harriet's passing, the Alumni Association formed Harry's Club in which donors give $1,000 a year for three years in Harry's memory to support Alumni scholarships. Harry's Club, led by Schafer and her husband Paul, continues the legacy of the Leppek family.
- Tickets to the June 2 Alumni Scholarship Benefit at Bozarth Mansion are now available online. The grand prize is a car. All proceeds from the event go directly to these scholarships.