Like most parents, Sarah Deutsch and Eli Eilbott of Arlington, Va., were excited but also a little anxious about their children’s adjustment to college, both academically and socially.
But those concerns were erased as they watched, first, their daughter Rachel ’13, then their son, Aaron ’16, thrive at William & Mary.
In fact, Eilbott and Deutsch have been so impressed with the university that they agreed to serve on William & Mary’s Parent and Family Council.
“We were just so grateful that our kids had this amazing opportunity to be at William & Mary, and this was a natural way to give back,” Eilbott said.
Annual gifts to the Parents Fund can make a major impact on the educational experiences of students at William & Mary — both inside and outside of the classroom. Eilbott and Deutsch feel their children’s experiences at William & Mary have been exceptional by helping to shape well-rounded scholars.
Rachel recently obtained an undergraduate degree in government with a minor in French. She was a Sharpe Scholar her freshman year and continued tutoring youngsters at Matthew Whaley Elementary and engaging in other community activities throughout her four years. She was involved with Alma Mater Productions, the student-run events group, and spent the spring semester of her junior year studying abroad in the Pacific island nation formerly known as Western Samoa.
An adventurous and independent spirit, Rachel is fluent in French and comfortable speaking Samoan. She will teach English at a summer camp in the Bologna area of Italy before starting a six-month fellowship in New Delhi with an organization that helps to foster the development of nonprofits and social enterprises across India.
Aaron applied early decision to William & Mary and similarly has loved his first year, Eilbott and Deutsch said.
His freshman schedule was filled with liberal arts classics, including English, government and economics. He played intramural sports, became a William & Mary Development Ambassador like his sister and pledged Delta Phi Fraternity.
Gifts to the Parents Fund have a significant impact on the quality of a William & Mary education by providing unrestricted support for the programs and experiences like those from which Rachel and Aaron have benefited.
“It’s a way to contribute to the extras that the school is able to offer students, whether it’s internships or research opportunities or work and learning possibilities over the summer,” Deutsch said.
She pointed out that many parents work for companies that have a matching gift program, which can double the size of an individual’s donation. Eilbott noted that private gifts are a major source of support for William & Mary, which receives only 12 percent of its budget each year from the state of Virginia.
“They say you’re happy when your kids are happy. That’s how we feel,” said Deutsch. “William & Mary has been tremendous. It has prepared Rachel really well and we have every expectation Aaron will have the same positive experience.”