While most 34-year-olds are busy building a career, paying the bills, and putting a little money away for the future, Robert Altmanshofer is concerned about what his legacy will be, long after he is gone.
Altmanshofer is a radiologic technologist at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) in Prescott, Arizona. His dream is to build an endowment that will provide full-ride scholarships every year to students in the Radiologic Technology program at Yavapai College.
He graduated from that program four years ago. And his dream of an endowment is very close to becoming a reality.
If I Can Do This, Anyone Can
“While I was doing my prerequisites, I got a few scholarships that were really helpful,” recalls Altmanshofer. “Then, when I applied to the Radiologic Technology program, the Jewish Community Foundation gave me a full-ride scholarship. I was beside myself with gratitude and excitement. Their generosity changed my life in so many ways.”
He was able to fully focus on the rigorous program at Yavapai College. “They actually tell you that you should not work while you’re in this program because you will be so busy with school, clinicals, travel and preparing for board exams,” says Altmanshofer. “It’s an enormous commitment.”
As a first-generation college student, Altmanshofer was doubtful that the academic world was even the right path for him. “I never saw myself going to college. I was sure I would fail. But when I started at Yavapai College and saw the opportunities coming my way, I realized that if I can do this, anyone can.”
He carried a 4.0 GPA.
An X-Ray Saved My Life
Pursuing a career in Radiologic Technology was born from an experience Altmanshofer had when he was 23 years old.
“An x-ray saved my life,” he explains.
Altmanshofer had been experiencing intermittent bouts of severe abdominal pain for about 6 months. He was in and out of the Emergency Room a number of times. Upper GI tests, CAT scans and endoscopies showed no signs of abnormalities.
Finally, an x-ray revealed a massive bowel obstruction. He underwent an immediate emergency bowel resection and removal of tumors in his small intestine.
“I was in the hospital for two weeks and had a lot of time to think about what I should do with this new chance at life,” he remembers. “The radiologic technologists were always so friendly and helpful. They talked about what a great job it is, where you really get to help people get well. My mind was made up.”
Altmanshofer remembers the moment he decided to give back.
“It was 2017. I made it through the program at Yavapai College and was just completing my last semester. I remember I was on campus, walking out to my car, and the idea hit me – I want to start a scholarship.”
The Yavapai College Foundation staff offered guidance and encouragement. His newly established scholarship was $500. The scholarship amount has grown every year ever since.
In 2020, Altmanshofer asked the Foundation about crowd funding. They helped him create a page on justgiving.com. His goal of $3,000 was met in six days. It had more than doubled after 30 days.
He was able to award two students a $3,000 scholarship each.
No Buyer’s Remorse
This year, in keeping with his commitment to grow the scholarship year after year, Altmanshofer has taken the next step.
“I started an endowment this year,” he says. “I prayed about it and talked to several mentors. I knew that I needed to really show my personal commitment to this effort. I started the endowment with $10,000 of my own money.”
“I’m the kind of person who always has buyer’s remorse whenever I purchase something tangible,” he explains with a smile. “But this is different – we are getting something so intangible. The ripple effects of what we’re doing will serve people for decades. As soon as I hit ‘submit’ on that $10,000 contribution, I knew it was a good decision – no buyer’s remorse!”
The target amount for the endowment was originally set at $30,000. YRMC physicians, surgeons, nurses, radiologic technologists, staff, and many community members continue to come forward with generous contributions. The fund has now exceeded the $30,000 goal and continues to grow.
Altmanshofer is humbled. “If you would have asked me four years ago if I pictured myself doing this, I’d say no way. But we are making it happen. I’m hoping we’ll reach $50,000.”
“To hear ‘we believe in you, we want to help you,’ humbles me,” he continues. “Being able to see the students come through the program and now have them working beside me at YRMC is beyond fulfilling. It brings so much meaning and purpose to my life.”
“It feels so good to have started doing good things now – not waiting until some ideal time. I see what people have done for me. It is imperative for me to give back. If it made this much of a difference in my life, I hope and pray I can make a difference in someone else’s life. My ultimate goal is to have enough in the endowment to be able to give full-ride scholarships year after year.”
Our Own Backyard
Every recipient of the Robert Altmanshofer Radiologic Technology Scholarship at Yavapai College is employed at Dignity Health, Yavapai Regional Medical Center.
“The beauty of this whole thing is that it is happening locally at our own hospital and through our own community college,” says Altmanshofer. “The people we are awarding these scholarships to are dedicating themselves to a career right here in our community, and on top of that, they’re helping people during a pandemic. It just gives you a sense of hope. There are still good people doing good work right here in our own backyard.”
The Robert Altmanshofer Radiologic Technology Scholarship provides funds to Yavapai College students enrolled in the Radiologic Technology degree program. To learn more, and to contribute to the endowment, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ycradtechendowment.