Student Impact: The LaMonte Student Emergency Fund

Each September, Homecoming weekend provides alumni an opportunity to connect with current MSU students in a weekend of reminiscence, hospitality, and Spartan pride.

This year's festivities at ComArtSci featured two recipients of the LaMonte Student Emergency Fund at ComArtSci's Stewardship Program.

As a former Spartan student, Gary LaMonte received scholarships and grants while working a part-time job to cover the cost of his tuition. Understanding the financial stressors of paying for college education, Gary LaMonte created the LaMonte Student Emergency Fund as a serviceable helping hand for ComArtSci students who face financial obstacles during their time at MSU.

This year's recipients included recent Media and Information graduate Siham Hassan ('23) and Broadcast Journalism senior Teanna Barnes ('24). Both students were honored to accept this gracious assistance.

We asked Hassan and Barnes to share how they have been impacted by the generosity of ComArtSci alumni like Gary LaMonte.

How did the LaMonte Student Emergency Fund aid in your college journey?

Siham: It was my last year, and I was just struggling. I had like a $10,000 statement in my balance, and I was like, How in the world am I going to pay for this? I reached out to my advisors, I reached out to ComArts, and they were willing to help me out with some of the funding. And now... I'm a graduate!

Barnes: The LaMonte Emergency Fund definitely assisted me; it helped me to be able to focus more on the excitement of senior year rather than the financial stress.

What did it mean to you to receive this assistance?

Hassan: This assistance meant the world to me because I had been really eager to graduate. With the financial hardship I was having, I wasn't sure if I was going to take an additional semester or defer my graduation year. Thankfully, I didn't have to do that. I was able to graduate on time, and now I just cannot wait to go out into the world and let them see who Siham is.

Barnes: Receiving this assistance meant that there were people willing to invest in my future, invested in completing my education, and that was inspiring.

What opportunities did the fund provide that you wouldn't have had otherwise?

Hassan: Going into my summer classes, I had 18 credits; ten of those consisted of an Arabic class, which was intended for a study abroad to Jordan for two months. With the fund, I was able to go to Jordan; I was able to just see a brand-new world.

Barnes: Overall, receiving this fund opened up so many opportunities. For example, I was able to continue participating in my sorority on campus. Generally, just being able to finish school and have the opportunity to not stress about it.

What's next for you?

Hassan: You might have to wait for the full autobiography to come out. But to keep it short, I'm taking a gap year and then I'll be going to law school. Listen, how we get there isn't important; what's important is that we graduate from Harvard Law School and have our Legally Blonde moment. I'm very excited about that.

Barnes: I plan to pursue a career as a broadcast journalist, so hopefully being a news anchor or reporter.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Hassan: I just want to thank ComArts and every single person who played a pivotal role in making sure I succeeded. I am so grateful. Being a first-generation college grad, you oftentimes don't think you might make it to that finish line. Thanks to all of the support I received, I was able to not only graduate, but now I'm looking forward to seeing what the world offers. I just want to say, thank you all.

Barnes: This fund definitely inspired me to be able to one day contribute to this community the same way that the LaMonte's have.

By: Miles Sloan