The Importance of Giving Back

Pam Bloomquist recently experienced a moment of Pullman Scholar serendipity. She is assistant dean of law admissions and financial assistance at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and she and a longtime co-worker were riding the elevator together when Bloomquist happened to mention that she is a Pullman Scholar (’74). Her colleague’s eyes immediately widened and she exclaimed, “I’m a Pullman Scholar, too!” The two colleagues immediately began discussing how they could locate and interact with their fellow Pullman Scholars.

Bloomquist already had a history of supporting the Pullman Scholars who came after her. A long-time donor to the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation, she began serving on the Scholar Selection Committee in 2012. She says of this experience, “Pullman Scholars are not only selected on the basis of academic ability and financial need. They are chosen for their character traits as well. It’s a privilege to able to meet so many deserving young people.”

When the Pullman Foundation began planning its first Annual Pullman Scholar Symposium, Bloomquist joined the planning committee for the event. Additionally, her extensive experience with student financial aid made her an ideal presenter, and she taught a course on financial literacy to the incoming Pullman Scholar freshmen. She says, “Many students don’t yet realize that what they eat today, they might end up paying for tomorrow as well as today. It’s crucial that they learn to think about the long-term when they’re deciding how to allocate their limited resources.” The financial literacy course was a success, and Bloomquist will be instructing a new group of Pullman Scholars at this year’s symposium.

“Participating in the Pullman Scholar Symposium is important to me not only because I am a Pullman Scholar myself, but because of my profession,” Bloomquist explains. “I believe students benefit from meeting people from modest backgrounds who have built careers for themselves. And it’s important to demonstrate to students the importance of giving back.”