April 22, 2019 was a sunny spring day in Buffalo, and UB student Alexis Linck-Entwistle was looking forward to finishing the semester in three short weeks.
After finishing classes that Monday, the applied linguistics major was enjoying some downtime with her cat when she heard a commotion outside. Two Good Samaritans had stopped their car in the middle of the street and were beating on the door to her downstairs neighbor’s apartment to warn them that the building next door was on fire. Linck-Entwistle tried to grab her cat but when she was unable to find her, she had to rush outside to safety. Tragically, the fire spread and her apartment was destroyed; her cat perished and she lost all of her possessions in a single afternoon.
“Within three hours, everything I had...you know, I’ve been working since I was 16. And it’s all just gone now.”
Even without such misfortune, college can be a stressful time for students as they learn to balance school work, activities and employment. And when faced with an unforeseen hardship, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to stay in school. That’s why the UB Student Emergency Fund exists, to help ensure that students like Linck-Entwistle are able to remain in school despite facing unexpected adversity, whether a fire, illness or other challenge.
Robert Lamy, BS ’77, wants to offer his assistance to students faced with unexpected challenges, which is why he established the Robert Lamy and James Hipkens, MD, Emergency Student Fund. Lamy created the fund not only to help students dealing with crises, but also to honor his late husband, Dr. Jim Hipkens, PhD ’79, MA ’77, a medical doctor who dedicated his life and career to supporting the disenfranchised and those in need.
“I think it’s important to leave a legacy. UB was the reason we were able to have the opportunities and careers that we had, because of the instruction we received and even just meeting there. Establishing this fund to help students in need is a small amount we’re paying back for everything we got.”
After applying for a grant from the Office of Conduct and Advocacy, which administers the funds, she received gift cards for food and clothing, which enabled her to finish out the semester.
She shares, “I could have taken incompletes in my classes, but I knew that if I could just focus on my school work, I would get through it.”
With the support of her professors and the donors who contribute to the UB Student Emergency Fund, Linck-Entwistle finished the semester strong and is slated to graduate from UB this December.