Janice Richmond Valdez '80
"Southwestern did so much for me; it's important for me to try to repay a portion of what I have received," says Janice Richmond Valdez '80.
A business major at Southwestern, Janice went on to work in project management for Tracor Aerospace in Austin and then for Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project in St. Louis. She simultaneously attended St. Louis University School of Law, receiving her law degree in 1995, and is now the attorney for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee.
As she traveled her career path, Janice met and married now-retired U.S. Marine Corps Major Ed Valdez. Together, they have traveled the world on both business and pleasure trips to places like Germany, the Czech Republic, Alaska and Canada, as well as to Ed's home state of Hawaii numerous times. Janice and Ed also enjoy running, walking and biking together. However, since Ed's diagnosis of colon cancer in 2011 and his subsequent treatment, they have decided to concentrate on walking and biking fundraising events to benefit colon cancer research and the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis. Meanwhile, they have recently taken their first cruise to celebrate Ed's one-year survivor anniversary and his new lease on life.
In 2012, Janice and Ed updated their wills; Janice included a testamentary gift to Southwestern to fund a scholarship. She says giving back to her alma mater is important to her because, "In the middle of my freshman year, my parents divorced. Southwestern helped me with grants that allowed me to stay in school. Who knows if I would have been able to if I had not been at Southwestern?"
Janice and Ed, whose mantra for 2013 is "powered by optimism" say, "It is very easy to feel like (your gift) is not large enough to make a difference, but you never know, it might be just what someone needs."
Janice hopes that the scholarship established with her gift helps someone like herself - "an average person from Georgetown who needs a little financial help." She says she hopes it will help more local students consider attending Southwestern. "Sometimes it's hard to appreciate what's in your own backyard, but I think if they look a little closer they will see that SU is pretty special.
" Together, the couple has one four-legged child — a rescue golden retriever named Katie Scarlett, whose official title, says Janice, is "Queen." Ed has two grown children, Matthew and Catherine Leilani.
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