barbara-robertsBarbara Roberts: Scholarship donor

When you talk with Barbara Roberts, you quickly realize you’re speaking with a pioneer. Roberts says her entire life she has been driven and focused and “[I] always did my own thing. I am open to everything,” She continues, “If I don’t like where I am, I walk away. I don’t have enough energy for the things I love to hold onto the things I don’t.”

She has always been determined to improve herself. Roberts started working early in her life and took almost any job that came her way including working in the potato fields in Idaho or as an official in state fair horse races. Soon she realized she had a passion for biology and decided in her early 30s to attend Idaho State University. At that time there were not a lot of women her age on campus. Roberts took a job with the biology department to help cover the extra cost of tuition her grants didn’t cover and continued to work there until she retired.

Roberts, a scholarship donor at the David Eccles School of Business, says she understands the importance of providing support to women, like herself, who are coming back to campus later in life. “If women can take care of themselves, improve themselves, then they will ultimately improve their family situation.” She continues, “I give back because I wouldn’t have gotten through without the grants I received. There is a lot of need and I try to do my part.”

She has a passion for empowering women to reach their dreams. “I hope they are able to accomplish their greatest wish – whether it’s in their career or education.” Robert’s scholarship supports women who are dedicated students and serious about making difference in their lives through education. During her own career, Roberts came learned the importance of supporting women. ISU was a small campus where she had the opportunity to ask other women to lunch to connect and grow her network. She became an advocate for her co-workers on campus and took that passion to the state capitol where she began advocating for women’s rights.

“Women need to learn they are worth fighting for themselves.” In her 82 years of life, she has learned being authentic is the greatest accomplishment you can have. “I am comfortable around anyone.” Roberts explains, “and they know they can trust me and I will be honest with them.” She advises students, “you need to know you are ok with yourself even if you don’t get that feedback from those around you.”

Roberts wisely remarks, “There’s so much to see in life” and encourages students to “open themselves up because you never know when something great is going to happen.” Through her continued support of women at the Eccles School, Roberts is helping students discover their strengths, improve their lives, and make an impact in the business community.

Find out ways you too can support students at the Eccles School of Business.