Anyone who has gone to college knows that tuition isn’t cheap, and since the 1980s, it has only continued to get more expensive. These days, many parents struggle to put together a college fund for their children. Due to the hefty expenses, many high school graduates are either unable to get the college education they want or are forced to slowly complete their higher education program as they can’t afford to take too many classes at a time.
Although born in 1919 when college tuition was much cheaper, Dale Schroeder couldn’t afford to go to college as he grew up in a poor family. He may have not been able to get the education he wanted, but he sure didn’t envy those who could. In fact, the carpenter from Iowa, who never married, dedicated his life to ensure the generations below him could get the college education they deserve. Working 67 years at the same job, Schroeder saved and donated enough money to put 33-plus people through college!
If he struggled growing up and throughout his career, how was Schroeder able to pay for the college of so many people? The carpenter worked hard in his trade, and he only spent what he needed on himself. He was never a heavy spender.
“He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy, went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans,” said Steve Nielsen, an old friend of Schroeder.
All he owned was one pair of jeans, a single pair of church pants, and a Chevy truck of an older model. He lived a simple life, but it was what he wanted; he didn’t need much to be happy.
In addition, Schroeder was able to make such a large donation for future college students because he didn’t have any relatives around that he could pass down his money to. Rather than letting his hard-earned cash go to the state, his savings went straight to a scholarship fund!
While the people who earned the scholarship money did not get to meet Schroeder, they are very thankful to have had the opportunity to pay for their college thanks to his generous contribution. The recipients call themselves “Dale’s kids.”
Kira Conard, an aspiring therapist, was one recipient of Schroeder’s donation. She might have had the good grades and drive to go to college, but money was tight. she had three older sisters and was raised by a single parent, making college an unlikely opportunity for her.
“I want to do this, I have this goal, but I can’t get there, just because of the financial part,” she said.
After telling her friends at her high school graduation party regarding the news about being unable to attend college with them, she received a phone call not long later that would change her life. She would be given tuition from Schroeder to make her dreams of obtaining a college education come true!
“I broke down into tears immediately,” she said. “For a man that would never meet me, to give me, basically, a full ride to college… that is incredible. That doesn’t happen.”
But the recipients didn’t just greedily take the tuition money; they made an effort to understand the kind soul behind it. So, the students took the time to honor Schroeder’s life in a meet up where they gathered around the carpenter’s old lunch box to talk about how his donation made a dramatic impact on their lives.
It’s incredible that one man could help so many people!
Learn more about Schroeder’s donation below. Although he passed away in 2005, I hope the students he blessed will never forget his selfless deed and will engage in an act of kindness like him one day!