TU Uncorked is an annual fundraiser for scholarships that support Tulsa-area students who want to attend The University of Tulsa and who need financial assistance. The event was created by the Tusa Chapter of the TU Alumni Association in 2005. Due to COVID-19, TU Uncorked 2020 was held virtually on June 19 with a video featuring music, auction items and toasts from alumni, supporters and past scholarship recipients. Additionally, alumni volunteers brought the party to guests by delivering TU Uncorked Party Boxes to those residing in the Tulsa area! Boxes included a bottle of wine and two TU Alumni corkscrews, two TU Uncorked stemless wine glasses, a $25 restaurant gift card, information about the TU Alumni Association Scholarship Fund and all the swag needed to celebrate like glow sticks and photo booth props.
This annual event features offerings from local restaurants and wineries, along with a wine pull and silent and live auctions. Thanks to the generous supporters of TU Uncorked, more than $300,000 has been awarded in the form of need-based scholarships over the last 16 years.
Leslie Blanchet, director of alumni engagement, said that TU Uncorked 2020 embodied the spirit of TU. “Even when we couldn’t be together in person, our alumni and donors showed their unwavering support for student success through countless volunteer hours and generous donations.”
This year’s volunteer committee was led by Platinum Sponsor and Honorary Chair Leslie Lawson, Event Chairs Ana Brown (BS ’94, MS ’96) and Kyle Brown (BA ’93), and Chairs-Elect Ashley Efaw (BS ’05) and Zach Efaw (BA ’04, MA ’06).
Meet past Alumni Association Scholarship Fund recipients
Matthew Tygart: Nursing a brighter tomorrow
Matthew Tygart (BSN ‘18) has always had a love for medicine and was drawn to nursing because he wanted to work with the pediatric population. “Why not become a doctor? Because I wanted to do what nurses do: advocate and teach patients for 12 hours a day. I didn’t choose the nursing profession, it chose me,” Tygart said.
Tygart was drawn to TU for its prestigious academics and commitment to the city of Tulsa. “TU has a close-knit family feel and that’s what I thrive on,” Tygart said. “Without that support system, I would not have graduated.”
When Tygart found out he would be graduating in five years instead of four, he was unsure if he could stay at TU. “I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do. The Alumni Association Scholarship Fund supported me financially and gave me the opportunity to continue through the nursing program and graduate. I am thankful, and my TU story isn’t over because I will forever be loyal always true,” Tygart said.
Immediately after graduation, Tygart landed his dream job working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis. His next career goal is to become a travel nurse working at hospitals around the country.
Sydney Alison: Seeing her name in lights
Sydney Alison (BA ‘20) decided to major in films studies after attending TU’s summer filmmaking camp, where she learned that the film department provides students with hands-on experience starting in the first semester. “I have friends at larger film schools who weren’t even allowed to touch the equipment their first year,” Alison said.
Her goal is to work for a production company and on as many films and TV productions as possible as a production manager, script supervisor, assistant director or editor. “If all my dreams come true, I’ll be working on a live show like The Tonight Show,” Alison said.
When asked what she would share with others unaware of the obstacles some students face to graduate, she said, “I think it’s less about awareness and more about creating an open dialogue between professors and students that make students feel comfortable asking for accommodations.”
Through her time at TU with the support of the Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, Alison learned how to be a better friend and communicator and to create a network that has already provided amazing opportunities.
Lindsay Deline: Glowing from helping others
Helping others have a healthier life was key to why Lindsay Deline (BS ‘19) majored in exercise and sports science. “I came to TU because of staff members who are the epitome of what lending a helping hand looks like. They truly care about me as a person, not just as a student,” he said.
Everyone’s story is different, and Deline says that because some may not feel comfortable sharing their experiences it is important to take a holistic approach when it comes to student support. “Keep an eye out for others and give them a comforting place to live and study. Money, while critical, is not everything.”
Deline went from thinking it was financially impossible to attend TU to graduating debt free. “I stepped out in faith and God showed me that TU was a fantastic university filled with incredible people and, through them, He helped me through!”
Proceeds from TU Uncorked benefit The University of Tulsa Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for students who have financial need and wish to attend TU. If you are interested in helping students achieve their educational goals, you can donate online today.