Mom’s Determination Inspires Creation of Scholarship

Editors’ Note: This feature appears as it was published in the fall 2013 edition of UT Dallas Magazine. Titles or faculty members listed may have changed since that time.
Nicole Tucker BA’04 (right) with Lailani Garcia, first recipient of the Diane Milot Tucker Scholarship.


Five years ago, Nicole Tucker BA’04 never imagined she could establish a scholarship at her alma mater.
“I thought I had to have my name on a building,” said Tucker, a real estate agent in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
But when she learned that she could give back on a smaller—yet still impactful—scale, Tucker took the opportunity to change the lives of future students.
She established the Diane Milot Tucker Scholarship, named for her late mother, at UT Dallas in 2014. This past fall, Lailani Garcia BS’18, a first-generation college graduate and mother of two, was the inaugural recipient of the scholarship, which helped pay for a final class. Garcia completed her degree in speech pathology in December.
Tucker and Garcia have more in common than just the scholarship. Garcia became a single mom at 16, and Tucker was raised by a single mom.
Tucker’s mom earned her associate’s degree by taking classes one at a time over the course of a decade. That emphasis on the value of education inspired Tucker to honor her legacy by creating the scholarship fund.
“There are so many different ways to give,” Tucker said. “Whatever your interest is, you can give toward that and be a small part of not just one person’s future, but also the entire University community.”
Garcia said: “I want to be able to do that in the future. It inspired me to think about what I can do later on to give back.”