May 21, 2021

Slavko Uzelac and Patricia Gonzalez: Paying it forward

Two UCalgary alumni establish award as ‘a little spark’ that offers initiative and hope


Slavko Uzelac and Patricia Gonzalez

Having immigrated to Canada as children, alumni Patricia Gonzalez, BA’07, LLB’10, and Slavko Uzelac, BSc (Eng)’09, understand the hardships that come with starting over. When they established the Learn, Lead, Inspire Award in 2019, they did so to make life a little easier for students who have children. The award is given annually to a first-year student with dependent children.

Their generosity gave nursing student Ashton Pepers the boost she needed to feel confident going back to school. “When I got notification that I’d won the award, I thought wow, I really can do this,” the single mother of four says. “It made me feel worthy, it made me feel like everything was going to be ok, and some of that uncertainty was just kind of settled.”

Learn more ways donors are making a difference: Meet the Energizers.