Odyssey scholar Chloe Glispie, Class of 2016, speaks at the February celebration of a $50 million gift and challenge from writer Harriet Heyman, AM’72, and her husband, investor Sir Michael Moritz. (Photography by Rob Kozloff)

How the Odyssey Scholarship program transformed my life

The word that comes to one Odyssey scholar’s mind: freedom.

On February 17, the University announced a five-year, $100 million plan to expand the Odyssey Scholarship program, integrating college readiness, admissions, financial aid, and career development initiatives. These enhancements were made possible by a $50 million gift and challenge from writer Harriet Heyman, AM’72, and her husband, investor Sir Michael Moritz.

Chloe Glispie, Class of 2016, was the student speaker at a celebration of the Heyman and Moritz gift, held in Mandel Hall.

Odyssey scholar Chloe Glispie, Class of 2016. (Photography by Rob Kozloff)

My name is Chloe Glispie, and I’m a fourth-year majoring in comparative human development. I am a proud Chicago native, raised right here on the South Side of Chicago.

Before I start, I must first thank God for the amazing opportunity to speak on what the University of Chicago and the Odyssey program have done for me. I’d also like to thank my mother, who raised me with the love and prayer that prepared me for moments like this, so that I could stand proudly before great men and women.

I was first introduced to the University through the College Bridge Program which allowed me to take college-level courses while I was still in high school. After this amazing experience, I knew that I connected with the University on an academic level, but I wasn’t quite sure how the logistics would work out. That’s where the Odyssey Scholarship came in.

When I think of what the Odyssey Scholarship has done for me over the past four years, the word that comes to mind is freedom. Freedom in every way. Where I come from, who you are and what you become in the future is solely based on what you have right now. Not having much made my future look pretty bleak.

Getting admitted to the University was one of the best things that happened to me, but getting that financial aid award letter was even better. Because of the Odyssey Scholarship, I was able to truly become a student. I was able to immerse myself in classes and explore my own interests. I was able to change my mind and then change it again to figure out exactly how I wanted to contribute to this world, and I was able to do this without worrying about impending loans.

I knew that my mother wouldn’t have to carry any of my financial burdens. The Odyssey program made the grounds of college for a first-generation student so much more stable. What’s even more encouraging is that amazing people like Harriet Heyman and Sir Michael Moritz, in addition to the 10,000-plus supporters of this program, are working to further this great legacy.

So again, when I think of how the Odyssey Scholarship contributed to my College career, I think freedom. Not just for me when I’m sitting in class learning about theories of cultural psychiatry.

I think about freedom for my mother, so that she won’t ever have to worry about the source of her livelihood ever again. I think about freedom for my eight-year-old niece, who will be able to venture outside of a four-block radius. And lastly, I think about the freedom I’ll help bring to my community. I want to give people the same freedom that I’ve been given. Thank you.

Updated 05.03.2016 to note that Glispie first learned of the University through the College Bridge Program.