Dave and Lisa Barrett recently established the Barrett Family Scholarship Fund.
Feb. 1, 2021

When Lisa Barrett was first married, she was astonished to hear her husband, Dave Barrett ’92, on the telephone agreeing to give $100 to the University of Arizona. It was a lot of money for them at the time.

He made his donation to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in political science.

That was 27 years ago. Philanthropy was important to Dave, and it became a priority for Lisa as well. The couple have given to the University of Arizona ever since, and they recently established the Barrett Family Scholarship Fund. The endowed scholarship is for non-traditional students, preferably first-generation.

The first awardee, Alexander Gimse ’21, began at Arizona in the fall after transferring from Pima Community College. He would have been unable to pursue his goal of becoming a psychologist or working in the foster care system without the Barrett Family Scholarship and other aid, he says.

“I was so happy to find a scholarship targeting people like me. It gives me hope for other first-generation or low-income students in the future.”

Lisa works for the university, assisting engagement initiatives for the 60,000 alumni in the Phoenix area. She has worked with alumni chapters to award scholarships and has seen the positive impact scholarships have on students. Lisa’s Wildcat experience strongly influenced the couple’s decision to establish a new scholarship in the family’s name.

And the Barretts are a Wildcat family. Their daughter, Madison, is a senior at UArizona, and their son, Jack, is a first-year student. Despite their Phoenix upbringing, the kids “didn’t put up much of a fight” about choosing Arizona.

As Madison and Jack forge their own paths as Arizona students, the Barrett family’s scholarship will grow and the value of philanthropy that Lisa and Dave embrace will be passed down to their children.

“The banner you carry through your life is your last name,” Dave says. “That gives them the ability to carry it forward. It’s a great opportunity for them.”