By Rudy Molina, Jr., Assistant Director External Relations & Research
The SALT Center has had many students tell us how much they have benefited from its services, but when Josh (Class of 2000) and Maggie Feldman (Class of 2002) strolled in on a Friday afternoon, it was obvious that their bond to each other, the UA, and the SALT Center was unique. Some would say it was a true love story.
“I came to UA with one of my best friends, who was also a SALT student…We were there only one week, and we knew we were on our own. We realized we needed to grow up real quick because no one else but ourselves was going to help us out,” recalls Josh. He was a bit shocked by all the responsibility of being a college student and how fast he had to mature to be ready for the first week of classes. What he didn’t know at that time was that the SALT Center and the UA would soon become a place that he would eventually describe as friendly, supportive, and a place that prepared him with real life skills.
“I met with [my Strategic Learning Specialist] each week, but I saw her more often than that. I would stop in to say hi. She and I became good friends…I remember in my senior year at SALT she helped me schedule a practice interview at the Career Center on campus. I would not have been aware of these services if it weren’t for her and SALT”, says Josh.
Although SALT played a critical role in Josh’s success as an economics major, it was not the only facet of his college experience that he came to enjoy and cherish. In his second semester at the UA he met Maggie Kramer (now Feldman) a fellow SALT student who was majoring in family studies and human development. The two lived in the same off-campus housing complex and shared common interests and friends. Despite their friendship, the two lost touch with one another after graduation from UA.
In 2003, they ran into one another at a mutual friend’s birthday party in Manhattan. According to Maggie, “It had been a while since we had last seen each other so we talked and talked the whole night.” They reminisced about old times and shared stories about their Greek life and SALT experiences. The couple starting dating that year. They were engaged in 2004 and married in 2006.
After being away from Tucson for many years, the couple made a special trip to visit friends, tour the UA campus, and stop in at the SALT Center. “To be honest, I was both jealous and proud when I saw the SALT building. I was jealous because I wish we would have had the fabulous facilities when I was in SALT. But at the same time, I was proud to see that that all the hard work and donations to the building become a reality! My family gave to the SALT Center when they were fundraising for the building. It’s so great to see that SALT is where it is”, Maggie explained.
Josh and Maggie’s family both have a history of supporting the UA and the SALT Center because SALT took care them and it played a huge role in both their lives.
Expecting their first child in about six weeks, Maggie shared, “Right now we’re really focused on bringing our son in the world and creating a safe and wonderful environment for him to grow up and hopefully attend the UA…Obviously, we’re not sure if he will need the SALT Center for additional assistance, but if he does, there is no doubt that we would like our son to be part of the SALT community…We benefited from it so much and we think he would too.”
This love story is about trust, hard work, and giving back. As students, Josh and Maggie put in many hours of studying. Their hard work not only paid off with graduation, but helped them develop a strong work ethic. They set goals, and developed a plan to make their dreams a reality. Today, Josh’s career in finance is thriving and Maggie is putting her degree to work by preparing their home for their son.
The Feldman’s are grateful for all the support they received from the UA and SALT because they believe that without the support, they may not have been as well prepared for life and the working world. Because they have the willingness and means, they are committed to support SALT’s future development efforts. It’s because of the loyalty and generosity of SALT alumni that future generations of students will have a similar valued experience.