Class: Senior, Graduated May 7, 2016
Hometown: Artesia, New Mexico
Involvement: Zeta Gamma (Follies Director), Praise Choir, Student Development Board, Encounter, Orientation Leader, ChapDesk (Student Worker), and Writing Center (Student Worker)
Favorite Part of LCU: “The people. That includes the faculty and the staff. No matter what is going on in your life – whether you have great or bad things happening to you – they’re always there to help you. They surround you with love; they support you; they tell you when you can be better.”
Trivia: Sam traveled with Praise Choir to Ukraine, Croatia, and Austria during her time at LCU.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4: 13, ESV)
(Samantha Torrez, left, with Kylee Weeks, right, 2016 recipient of the Ruth Ross Scholarship)
The value Samantha Torrez places on education was inspired by her grandmother, Ruth Ross.
“When I was growing up, my grandma was constantly there for me, no matter what,” Torrez recalled. “If I was sick at school, and my mom couldn’t come get me, my grandma would come get me. If I needed help on my homework, or I wanted to learn something, my grandma would always try to help me and get me to the next step.”
Ross and her husband created an account to save college tuition for their grandchildren. Torrez, the oldest of the grandchildren to attend college, was the first to use the fund to support her education.
Ross passed away when Torrez was a freshman in high school. She never saw any of her grandchildren graduate from high school or go on to college.
However, Torrez relied on her grandmother’s college fund and the financial support of scholarships to attend LCU.
Torrez was a member of the first LCU Student Development Board. The student development board allows students the opportunity to create a proposal for a project on campus that they are passionate about, and then present to selected local businesses to raise funds for their project.
Torrez approached Raymond Richardson, vice president of university advancement, with her proposal for a humanities scholarship.
Richardson explained the logistics and standards necessary to create a scholarship and asked Torrez what gave her a passion for the scholarship. Her answer was her grandmother.
“I knew Sam would meet her goal in creating a scholarship in the name of Ruth Ross, because now she was a part of something bigger than herself,” said Richardson. “Samantha lived out Philippians 4:13, because this idea was rooted in her faith; it was not about her, it was about how she could serve others.”
In order for a scholarship to be endowed, it must reach $10,000. Torrez didn’t think she would see that goal met while she attended LCU. However, generous donations from her family helped her raise even beyond the necessary $10,000 so that the scholarship could be awarded to a student before Torrez graduated.
After deliberation from the humanities faculty, Kylee Weeks received the first Ruth Ross Scholarship of $500.
In the future, Torrez hopes the scholarship will reward humanities students every academic year who are good representatives of LCU and prioritize their studies.
Torrez has taken a job with CoNetrix, a family of technology companies, in Lubbock that she will continue after graduation. However, her goal is to become a history professor and continue changing the lives of college students.
“One day, I hope to return to LCU and foster the love of history that was given to me while I was here,” said Torrez.