Profit Idowu - The Promise Scholarship
Profit Idowu (B.S. ’14) recalls with crystal clarity the spring day he was accepted off the waitlist to the University of Minnesota. “It was really warm that day,” he says. “I was so stressed out, and I remember coming home, checking the mail anxiously. I opened up the mail and saw this white, maroon, and gold package that said ‘Welcome.’ I was like ‘Oh my gosh. This is the one.’”
The package was more than just an offer of admission. It came with a profound responsibility to live up to the expectations of his mother. Idowu’s mother had come to America from Lagos, Nigeria, and had worked as a hotel maid and a medical assistant to support her son and send him to school. “She always told me that education was important,” says Idowu. “She said when I went to college I should learn all I could and make sure it only took me four years so I could go out into the world.” He did.
Idowu was able to attend the U thanks to the Promise Scholarship for low- and middle-income students. Since all credits after 13 are free, he packed his schedule tight, taking up to 18 credits per semester. The online scheduling tools helped him make the best use of his time.
When he got hooked on an e-marketing class, he didn’t just ace the class: He headed to a student advertising summit hosted by the U and met recruiters at top advertising agencies around the state. Not long after that, he landed an internship at the Minneapolis agency Fallon—one of 12 selected from 1,400 applicants. He learned the ropes working with companies including H&R Block, Arby’s, and Brown-Forman.
Idowu got involved outside of class, too. He joined Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, and by his junior year was elected international second vice president, the third-highest ranking member in the 100,000-member organization.
Along the way, he got guidance from Jon Ruzek, the Alumni Association’s senior director of alumni networks, who taught him the importance of staying connected with other alumni. He also benefited from a leadership course taught by Orkideh Mohajeri, coordinator of undergraduate studies. Idowu says he still relies on the principles he learned from the course in his day-to-day work at Fallon.
At the U, says Idowu, he got the education his mother had dreamed of for him. But that was just the start. “I learned how to be a better student,” he says. “But I also learned how to be a better leader and a better person.”