From bleeding feet to doctor-to-be

hree photos of Hezouwe, one with his daughter, one solo, and the final with Emily Auerbach

When Hezouwe Walada was growing up in rural Togo, West Africa, he craved learning so much that he walked 30 miles daily without shoes, his feet bleeding, to attend the closest village school.

Hezouwe brought that persistence with him when he immigrated to America, completed the Odyssey Project and Badger Ready and went on to become a pre-med student at UW–Madison. Now Hezouwe has been recognized with the Lisa Munro Two-Generation Scholarship. Read more about Hezouwe’s arduous journey, the Munro scholarship and how to support our remarkably persistent alumni with tuition and textbooks.

Hezouwe’s desire to study medicine started in Koumea, Togo, as he watched three young cousins and nearly half his village die of malaria. Poverty and the absence of both shoes and a village school could not stop him from pursuing his dream of becoming a doctor.

In a letter of thanks to donors about his selection as the 2021 Lisa Munro Two-Generation Scholarship recipient, Hezouwe described himself as a full-time Biochemistry student entering his senior year at UW–Madison this fall: “I am 29 years old, and my ultimate goal is to become a doctor. I am married and blessed with a 6-year-old beautiful daughter.” This award will help Hezouwe with his studies and fund music lessons for his daughter.

Hezouwe notes in his letter that he views the Odyssey Project as his “other family” and knows “Odyssey has changed my life for the better”:

This program revived my dream of becoming a doctor. I was drowning and Odyssey saved me. The thought of never seeing my dream come true turned my life upside down. I had lost hope, and I almost gave up. I still remember my first day of Odyssey. I was so excited and happy to be there because I knew I was about to embrace a new adventure. Through the program I gained confidence in public speaking, amazing skills, and academic knowledge that is helping me in my UW courses now. I consider Odyssey as the missing link I was seeking to make my dream possible. I will be forever indebted to this program.

Hezouwe ends his letter by thanking donors for generously helping him achieve his dreams.

To honor career counselor and social justice activist Lisa Munro, former UW–Madison Dean of Students Mary Rouse proposed a two-generation scholarship — awarded to an Odyssey alum and his or her child or grandchild — in Lisa’s name. Rouse also helped fund the scholarship along with some of Lisa’s relatives and friends. Lisa’s husband, Dick Goldberg, recently endowed this scholarship to ensure it can be offered to future generations. To contribute to this fund or establish a new one in honor of someone in your life, contact Jenny Pressman at or 608-287-8216.

Support the Odyssey Project Fund