For University of Findlay’s Thank a Donor Day, on February 25, 2021, in an effort to recognize them for their giving hearts, we are publishing a short series telling the stories of some of our donors. We thank these, and all, donors to UF for their philanthropy and friendship, and are immensely grateful for their contributions to the Oiler family.
Empathy and compassion are rarely found in words. One can speak of their empathy many, many times over. Unless it’s followed by deeds, however, true compassion remains under the surface.
People who are truly empathetic and compassionate seem to have a sixth sense for knowing when people need help. It’s a sense that starts small and gets sharpened throughout life, often beginning as a trait early on for people. It’s nurtured by family, by friends, and, according to Taylor (Brubaker) Pearce ’16 DPT ’18, whose compassion for University of Findlay and its students has led her to give back to her alma mater open-heartedly, even by experiences.
Growing up for Pearce meant, among other things, athletics. Knee injuries from eighth grade basketball pointed her specifically toward an interest in helping people in the form of physical therapy. While doing the therapy as a result of her knee trouble, her empathetic qualities led Pearce to begin wanting to do something to help others who would run into a similar fate in their life. “From a young age,” she said, “I knew that I wanted a career that helped people, more than likely in the medical field. When I began going through physical therapy, I realized that the profession was a good mix of what I was looking for in a career. I observed hours at local physical therapy clinics and fell in love with the profession.” She later learned that UF had a distinguished, accelerated, physical therapy program, and when it came time, she said, she only visited UF and a small, local college back home. “I knew that UF and physical therapy was what I wanted to do.”
Once on campus as an Oiler, many opportunities for philanthropical growth came for her, in part, as a result of the scholarships she received. She had worked hard in high school to earn scholarships from her local community, she said, and working hard also allowed for her to receive several scholarships from the University. Pearce’s work ethic, coupled with her thankfulness for the financial assistance from UF, led her to her first job on campus as a student caller for phone-a-thon/UF Outreach. The job, she explained, opened up her knowledge of how giving worked. She met lots of people, including donors and friends of the University, and the job ended up lasting for her entire six-year career at UF, helping her toward being named the 2018 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy for the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Northwest Ohio, and earning her a philanthropy cord when she received both her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from Findlay.
Now, Pearce employs her empathy literally as a physical therapist at Mohican Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in the acute care and home health setting. She’s married to her husband, Evan, and the couple have a dog named Maverick along with a few horses. The compassionate culture that she developed further through her experiences and work with, and for, UF has blossomed into a meaningful life and productive career that still includes a giving mentality and a philanthropical relationship with UF. Her giving, she said, is an act of paying forward to the college that made her dreams become reality, and an effort to assist students with similar aspirations of a UF education. “I give because someone gave for me. I feel that I am simply returning the favor. Where I am currently in life would not have been possible without philanthropic donors. Being able to receive the honor of 2018 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy for the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Northwest Ohio was something that I never would have thought about or considered ever receiving if it were not for UF and the donors that originally gave for me to receive my scholarship.”
Pearce said that, as she’s just starting out as a college graduate, she’s not yet giving substantial amounts. It’s her empathy, however, and her inward knack for helping, that allows for her to not worry so much about that right now. She knows she’ll grow, just like she did during her time at UF. “I know each gift, no matter the amount, truly makes a difference,” she said.
We are grateful to all of our UF donors, regardless of where they are on their journey. From those like Taylor Pearce, who are just starting their post-college lives, to people making great strides like Justin Gladieux, to the Brungard family who have become, over the years, trusted friends and prolific contributors to UF’s financial status, we recognize the growing kindness and unselfishness toward our programs and students, and we realize that the potential for our future lies within your compassionate support.
That’s the reason we honor you, our gracious donors, on Thank a Donor Day.