Grinnell College first-year student sees impact of giving firsthand

John Gouwar ’21 sees #GivingTuesday as a day to consciously think about giving back to a place that has given so much to so many.

John Gouwar '21
    John Gouwar '21

That place for Gouwar is Grinnell College. Even though he’s only been a student for about three months, the Montclair, N.J., native has made a new home studying computer science at Grinnell.

“Every day I’m here I appreciate the gifts I have been given,” Gouwar said. “I’m here on a scholarship. I couldn’t come to Grinnell without help from gifts.”

Though not originally on his radar, a counselor at Gouwar’s high school suggested he apply to Grinnell College.

“After I got accepted, I came for a visit and saw what an amazing place this is,” Gouwar said. “I did more research and talked to a number of people, and the more I looked into it, the more I realized it was the place for me.”

“Every day I’m here I appreciate the gifts I have been given,” Gouwar said. “I’m here on a scholarship. I couldn’t come to Grinnell without help from gifts.”

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Despite the 8:30 a.m. time slot, Gouwar’s favorite class so far is Functional Problem Solving. He’s enjoyed learning programing hands on in an unfamiliar computing language.

“Computer science is amazing for me because it’s all about problem solving,” he said. “The first time I sat behind a computer and got it to solve math problems, I was hooked.”

Gouwar intends to go on to graduate school and earn a doctorate so he can teach.

“I’ve had so many great teachers through my life,” he said. “I want to further the tradition of helping people discover their academic potentials like my teachers helped me.”

That supportive environment is one of things Gouwar like best about Grinnell, although being a member of the College’s ultimate Frisbee team also ranks pretty high.

“Everyone wants to see everyone else succeed at Grinnell,” he said. “Professors and students are willing to help me with a problem or homework. That surprised me even after seeing it on the surface during my visit.”

Gouwar understands the importance of giving and is already helping with fundraising by taking part in the College’s Phonathon. He plans on giving financially to Grinnell when he has the ability.

“Giving back to Grinnell is important because it’s paying it forward, so future students can have the experience that I’m having,” Gouwar said. “It keeps going on and on.”

— by Jeremy Shapiro

Celebrate #GivingTuesday by:

  • Making a gift to Grinnell College online or by calling 866-850-1846.
  • Going to Grinnell’s Facebook or Twitter and share your reasons for giving using #GivingtoGrinnell
  • Showing your support of Grinnell by adding a badge to Facebook and Twitter profile.

Join in the spirit of giving this Tuesday to support fellow Grinnellians.