Nathan GrohmannNov. 24, 2008
When Nathan Grohmann receives his diploma next May, he'll be part of a graduating class that totals between 1,500 and 2,000. The number of students walking the Ferrell Center stage will just about equal the population of Grohmann's hometown of Weimar, Texas, which sits right on I-10, halfway between San Antonio and Houston.
"I had a graduating class of 63," he says. "I think we had about 240 or so members in our high school, and that's the only high school in town.
"[My family has] been around that area for the past one and a half centuries, I think. My dad and his brothers have a construction company, and it's been in our family since 1909, so we're going on our centennial anniversary next year."
Grohmann could have hung around Weimar and entered the family business straight from high school, but his parents encouraged him to think bigger.
"I worked there a couple of summers during high school, but my dad discouraged me from doing construction. He has a very difficult job. It's a good job--it's a great career and everything--but it's very backbreaking. He said to me, 'Nathan, I want you to get an education. I want you to go to college and pursue higher education.'"
As a high school senior, Grohmann quickly narrowed down his college choices to Rice and Baylor. He says Baylor offered him significantly more financial aid and made him feel much more welcome.
"At Baylor, I knew there were obviously lots of very bright, intelligent people, but I didn't feel as though I would get washed away in this big sea of people. I really felt as though I was given a lot of attention at Baylor, that people really cared about not only my SAT scores and what-have-you, but about who I was, and really wanted to foster my growth as a person more than just my mind.
"Even though the campus is big and continues to grow, I never felt overwhelmed or lost or anything. I don't feel like I'm caught up in any sort of rat race. I feel like I have a community here at Baylor that I can lean on and that I can grow with."
As a high school senior, Grohmann applied for and received a scholarship from Baylor's Carr P. Collins Program. The award provides $4,150 per year, and in return recipients must maintain a 3.0 grade point average and participate in civic or community service each year.
"That scholarship has been a godsend. It has helped my family immensely, and now I have a sister here as well," he says. "There really are so many scholarship opportunities at Baylor."
As the financial affairs co-chair for Baylor's Student Foundation, Grohmann has been able to help raise funds that allow other students the same opportunities he's received.
"Last year, [Student Foundation] gave $240,000 to student scholarships, so this year we're trying to increase that amount to about $250,000. I think that just reiterates the idea that Baylor cares about students and wants to make every effort possible to make it affordable for students to come here.
"You can get a great education at any university in Texas, but I think only at Baylor will they integrate every aspect of you and try to develop you as a whole person. That's where the true value of a Baylor education comes in; it's not just in academics, but as a whole person."