Karl F. Dasher, IE 1993, is CEO, North America, and co-head of Fixed Income at Schroders Inc. “The highest calling in life,” he says, “is to create virtuous cycles that extend beyond us and our years. Partnering with Georgia Tech in an area that is a passion for you — and of need to society — is a great way to do that.”,.
Dasher is no stranger to first responders. When he was in a serious car accident back in the late 1980s, they came to his aid. He is also no stranger to scholarships. After the accident ended his dream of playing college football, he changed his academic course and won a full tuition scholarship to Georgia Tech, courtesy of alumnus Lawton M. (Mac) Nease, IMGT 1965, who had set it up for students from Effingham County, just north of Savannah.
What’s more, Nease kept the scholarship open for Dasher for two years while he recovered from his injuries and worked to turn around his family’s struggling business.
“I made a commitment then and there — to myself and to him — that I would reinvest some of my future good fortune to help create a positive path for others via Georgia Tech,” Dasher recalls.
Dasher has kept that commitment, starting in 2005, when he led the endowment of an athletic scholarship in honor of his high school football coach. Since then, he and his wife, Erin, have supported a number of causes, and they feel particularly passionate about expanding opportunities for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education.
Although Dasher went on to earn an Ivy League graduate degree, he credits his own STEM education at Tech for giving him the foundation to succeed. “I think Georgia Tech is a transformational institution,” he says. “It drives you down a path of study that is assured to equip you with a set of skills and a degree that is valued by society — it’s one of the great upward mobility stories in America today.”
The Dashers’ most recent gift was inspired by a family trip to Normandy and Omaha Beach, Dasher says. “You can’t walk through the bunkers, bomb craters, and cemetery and leave without a profound sense that everything we have today in terms of freedom and prosperity is because of those who put their lives on the line to defend us and our governing principles,” he says. “That extends, as well, to those who protect us and our loved ones on a daily basis in the communities in which we live.”
Called the America’s Heroes Scholarship, the Dashers’ scholarship will be awarded to qualifying Georgia Tech students who self-identify as children of U.S. military active duty personnel and veterans, or children of first responders including, but not limited to, fire, police, and emergency medical personnel.
“Helping military and first responder families through financial assistance is one small way of giving back to those who give their time and put their lives at risk to support our country and our world,” Dasher says. “We hope it will make them feel a little more appreciated for the sacrifices they make for us.”