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Giving

A Safe Haven

July 15, 2013
Among the numerous college brochures that arrived in Niki Goenaga’s mailbox, one course catalog stood out.  On the cover, a student sat on the stoop of a brick building – she looked calm, happy, and secure. Once Niki opened that brochure, Washington College quickly rose to the stop of her short list of college choices.

Niki Goenaga was the first person in her family to graduate from college and her parents were hesitant to let her go so far away from their home in Florida.  However, after visiting campus with Niki,  her mom fell in love with WC right alongside her daughter.

At Washington College, Niki found the freedom to explore her interests.  A sociology class with Dr. Patricia Horne convinced her to switch majors her senior year. Meanwhile, Niki maintained a love for math, nurtured by Dr. Louise Amick ’69. In addition, Niki also left Washington College immensely grateful for a newfound comfort with writing.  With Spanish as her first language, Niki developed her English-language writing skills through the sophomore-writing requirement with the help of Mrs. Geraldine Fisher, who later became the Director of the Writing Center. Those skills continue to enhance Niki’s personal and professional life to this day. 

Niki came to Washington College from a very conservative environment, in search of a safe place to explore and find her confidence. Washington College offered her a haven and an open community, a place that gave her the freedom to figure out what she wanted out of life. Motivated by the many ways in which WC shaped her life, Niki has made a legacy gift, which will endow a chair for the writing department and preserve the writing program that made such an impact on Niki.

To this day, Washington College holds a very special place in Niki Goenaga’s life. She’s busier these days and has less time to make the trip back to campus, but her commitment to WC is unquestionable.


Last modified on Aug. 9th, 2013 at 9:38am by Emily Kate Smith.