Local Couple Helps Students Become First in Family to Attend College

Viba Patel, Jesus Garcia and Dilip Patel at UCO.

Growing up in India, Dilip Patel witnessed firsthand how being the first person in your family to attend college can have a significant impact on future generations. Dilip’s grandfather was a farmer who worked hard to provide for his family despite only having attended school through the third grade.

Back then, Dilip says, education wasn’t a priority, and children were expected to work on the farm. But his grandfather was determined to provide his children with the educational opportunities he never had, and Dilip’s father went on to graduate from medical school.

“I experienced the difference that education made in my own family,” Dilip said. “I learned then that education is the best gift you can give someone.”

Dilip says his parents taught him the importance of a good education and hard work. He and his wife, Vibha, want to share these values with others. By making annual gifts to the Oklahoma City Community Foundation’s scholarship program, the Patels provide college scholarships for graduating high school seniors each year, including students who will be the first in their family to attend college.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors like the Patels, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation awards more than $2.5 million in scholarships to students throughout the state each year. Recently, 184 graduating seniors from central Oklahoma received awards through the Community Foundation Scholars program, including 89 students who will be the first in their family to attend college. Read more.