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School of Labor & Employment Relations University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Donor Profile

Samantha Dwinell, MHRIR ’01

Vice President of Human Resources
Texas Instruments

SSamanthaDwinellam Dwinell supports LER because her time in the program was, as she described, a pivotal point in her life. The individuals she met while in the program remain important today. The administration and professors impacted her life, and her classmates are lifelong friends. Attending LER was Sam’s first opportunity to interact with Fortune 100 and 200 employers who are well-known for their people practices and being great places to work. “[LER] gave me access to the companies I don’t think I could have figured out how to get into on my own,” she says.

On a personal note, Sam recounts that she was able to attend her undergraduate and graduate programs, because of scholarships, the majority of which were funded by individuals. As she grew older and had the means to give back and provide others with similar opportunities, she wanted provide meaningful support. “I wanted to give scholarships to students and provide the opportunities I had. Someone did that for me 15-20 years ago, and now that I have the means, I wanted to do that for a student following me.” Thus, she chose to give to LER in the form of a scholarship with fellow alum, Dan Spaulding.

The two agreed to fund the scholarship in the name of one of their most memorable professors, Dr. Wally Hendricks. Though some argue that he was controversial, he had provoked them both to think differently. Several other classmates chose to add to the fund. Professor Hendricks, who Sam did research under in addition to taking his courses, is one of the people who Sam continues to keep in touch with from LER and deems him as “incredibly smart” and as “someone who challenges the way you think.”

Ultimately, Sam is happy with the direction of LER and states, “I had a positive experience at LER and feel really good about where I am in my career and my personal life. I hope students in the program now are getting that same experience and build the network.”