Study Abroad experience inspires recent graduate's gift

Justin Read’s study abroad experience at Dominican was so rewarding that he found a way in 2015 to give back to the program to help others.

The Business Administration major in the Barowsky School of Business, who graduated from Dominican in May of 2015, facilitated a $15,000 donation to the Global Education Office (GEO) through his family’s H & H Lee Charitable Family Foundation in Newport Beach started by a great aunt on his dad Chris’ side.

“This makes so much sense. This is perfect,” said Justin, who is a consultant to the H & H Lee board. “I want more Dominican students to have a chance to study abroad.”

The donation was earmarked for travel stipends to assist need-based Dominican students desiring to participate in Study Aboard through GEO. Dominican Semester Abroad students are afforded the opportunity to study at Dominican partner universities abroad, earning credit in their major or GE, while paying the same Dominican tuition, and maintaining eligibility for all DUC financial aid, scholarships and grants.

Since 2015, Justin has facilitated two more donations of $20,000 each (totaling $55,000 over three years) that has allowed GEO to offer scholarships to nearly 60 students to help pay for their airfare to study abroad at no additional charge.

Justin came to Dominican as a student-athlete, drawn by Dominican’s academic reputation and small class sizes with an opportunity to compete in soccer at the NCAA Division II level through Dominican Athletics. In addition to his major, Justin minored in Spanish and Pre-Law and graduated from the Dominican Honors Program.

In 2014, two significant events happened for Justin. At a Super Bowl party, he met a girl from Australia – Rowe Mitchell  – who was taking classes at Dominican. Then Justin underwent season-ending knee surgery that prevented him for playing for the Penguins in the fall. That’s when he decided to apply for the Study Abroad experience and utilize a travel stipend to expand his business education.

Justin, the first Dominican Study Abroad student designated to go to Australia, attended the energy-efficient Charles Sturt University campus in New South Wales. He was captivated by a pair of classes – International Marketing and Natural Resource Management.  The educational experience, Justin says, exceeded his expectations.

“When I got back to Dominican I thought ‘Why didn’t I do this like three times?’ Justin says. “I’ve been telling everybody they need to study abroad, but people have been saying it’s too expensive.”

Justin met with Giulia Welch in the Global Education Office one day to discuss obtaining his Global Ambassadors Leadership Pin to wear at Commencement. The conversation turned to how he might help out the Study Abroad program.

With a concentration in International Business, Justin was appreciative of how GEO and the Barowsky School of Business assisted him with a travel stipend to Australia. He wanted other students to be afforded the same opportunity to study abroad and recommended a monetary gift to Dominican, inspired by his teachers and their support during his four years at the University.

“That’s had an impact on me in my general mentality and how I live my life. I’m much more engaged and self-reflective in my values. Dominican has been a huge influence in that,” says Justin, who now works as a senior analyst for inventory strategy at Athleta after a two-year stint in a similar position at Restoration Hardware.

“My giving mood was because I’ve had such great experiences and I wanted other students to have those experiences as well, specifically in the study abroad program. When I did it I realized this is remarkably valuable and I wanted people to do it. The main concern they were saying is it’s expensive. When the opportunity came around, I did something about it.”


July 9, 2015