How Do You Find Your Way?

“There is a path out there for you; don’t settle.” That’s what the high school principal said to Ann Gonzales-Lindahl ’86, and what inspired her to apply to SCU despite her doubts.

Growing up, Ann Gonzales-Lindahl ’86 learned the virtue of sacrifice—and the blessings of scholarship—from her mother. Money was tight, but Gonzales-Lindahl’s mom did her best to ensure her only child got a Catholic education.

To augment her mother’s nursing income, Gonzales-Lindahl worked during high school at McDonald’s, starting behind the counter and rising to first-level manager. By the end, she was ordering supplies and making sales projections, an experience that sparked an interest in studying business.

Santa Clara University was Catholic, and it had a strong business program. But when it came to college applications, a high school counselor warned her not to put undue financial pressure on her mother.

Gonzales-Lindahl was crushed. How could she ask her mother to bear such a financial burden, just so her daughter could be the first in their family to go away to college?

Then she heard the encouraging words from the principal. She applied.

To her delight, Santa Clara’s offer came with an Everett Alvarez Jr. Endowed Scholarship. And when her childhood best friend also decided to go to SCU, where they would be roommates, “it was almost like God was sending me a message,” recalls Gonzales-Lindahl.

“All the positive things lined up to lead me here,” including, she says, meeting her husband, Greg Lindahl ’86, MBA ’93.

These days she puts her education to work as a manager of regulatory affairs at San Jose Water Company. Her son Erik Lindahl ’19 graduated.

And she is paying it forward, bequeathing a life insurance policy to the University to help future students find their path, too.

post-image Finding your way isn't always easy. / Illustration by Michael Austin
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