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Rowe Family Scholarship Gift Doubled Thanks to Grainger Matching Challenge

7/30/2020 11:36:45 AM Laura Schmitt, Illinois CS

Arin Rzonca
Arin Rzonca, a recipient of the Rowe Family Scholarship

Inspired by The Grainger Foundation’s Matching Challenge program, Jim (BA Political Science ’88) and Cindy (BS Microbiology ’88) Rowe made a significant donation to the existing scholarship fund that bears the family name, doubling the value of their generous gift.

The Rowe Family Scholarship has provided valuable financial assistance to five exceptional CS undergraduates, helping the department attract and retain the best and brightest students as they earn their BS degrees.

One of those recipients is CS junior Arin Rzonca, who plans to apply computing to social and political issues.

“I’d like to do something that makes democratic institutions more accessible and efficient,” said Rzonca, who is working on a cyber security project this summer as an intern at Argonne National Lab. “Perhaps develop algorithms to determine the best places to put polling places or something related to election security.”

The Rowe Family Scholarship has alleviated the stress of figuring out how to pay for college, Rzonca said, which allows her to take more social studies and humanities classes along with her CS courses.

“To know that someone believes in me and thinks I have potential to go on and do good things in the future is a real confidence booster,” Rzonca said. “It’s really nice to know people are rooting for me.”

Cindy and Jim Rowe
Cindy and Jim Rowe

The couple established the scholarship in 2007 in partnership with Jim’s brother Craig (BS CS and BA Economics ’90) and wife Ulku (MS CS ’97) as a way to honor the brothers’ grandparents, Hubert W. and Bonnie Scott Baker.

According to Jim, Hubert and Bonnie played a prominent role in his and Craig’s upbringing by introducing them to foreign cultures, demonstrating respect for family, and emphasizing the importance of hard work and education.

“Members of the Rowe family have graduated from a number of different colleges within the university, but we chose to devote the scholarship to the CS department because of the strength of the program and our belief in the importance of computer science to promoting international competitiveness,” said Jim.

After graduating from Illinois, Jim earned a law degree at Duke. For the past 29 years he has been with Kirkland & Ellis LLP, where he is currently a capital markets partner. After Cindy graduated with her microbiology degree, she earned a doctorate in molecular biology from Loyola University and held a post-doctoral position at Northwestern, studying the complex mechanisms of viral entry for herpes simplex and Epstein Barr viruses.

Craig is the head of fixed income technology at Cantor Fitzgerald in New York and Ulku is the technical director of financial services with the office of the CTO at Google Cloud in New York.