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PROMISES: Tap, tap, tap for UC scholarships

By Dave Jones on October 1, 2013 in University News

Isaac Williams: dapper tapper

Who’s that guy tap-dancing across your screen?

“My name is Isaac Williams,” he says. “I went to UC Davis. And if you help me raise $5,000 I will tap-dance for six hours.”

He made this promise in UC’s Promise for Education campaign, which relies in part on people’s social media connections to raise money for grants and scholarships for undergraduate students from California with demonstrated financial need.

Nearly two weeks in, the campaign total has surpassed $1 million, as of this morning (Oct. 1).


Click on their names to go to their promise pages. And see all UC Davis promises here.

  • Isaac Williams ’12 — tap-dance for six hours ($5,000)
  • Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi — serve at the Coffee House ($5,000) and throw a VIP Greek Gala ($10,000)
  • Vice Chancellor Adela de la Torre (Student Affairs) — ride in the Picnic Day Parade, on her bicycle and in costume ($1,000), and switch places with a student for a day ($2,000)
  • Dean Michael Lairmore (School of Veterinary Medicine) — race the winning dog in the 2014 Doxie Derby, and do it while wearing a dachshund costume ($1,000)
  • ASUCD Vice President Bradley Bottoms — wear a cow suit for a week ($1,500)
  • Darlene Alvarez ’96 — give up coffee for 44 days, the entire run of the Promise for Education campaign ($1,000)


Success! Heather Kopeck ’99 reached her goal of $250 (exceeded it actually, at $275), after promising to "treat five UC Davis students to shawarma at a favorite Davis lunch spot.” Way to go, Heather!

6-foot-3 tap dancer

Williams, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history in 2012, told Dateline UC Davis: “I saw a notice for the UC Promises campaign on Twitter of all places, and felt compelled to be a part of it.”

When making a promise, people can specify which campus will be the recipient of the funds that come in. Williams chose another option: to direct the funds to a UC-wide fund. “Need is need no matter where you are,” he said. “We are all in this together, no matter where you choose to go to school.”

He did not dance at UC Davis, but admitted to "sneaking" in to an upper division drama course in his senior year. He “thoroughly enjoyed it,” and today he’s an actor.

As for his tap dancing, “I grew up in dance studios and around performing arts academies, and tapping was a little known skill set that I still have. So, I figured people might want to see a big, 6-foot-3 guy doing something they might not at first glance expect him to do.”

Williams, who lives in Los Angeles, said he is “open to the possibility” of coming to campus to fulfill his tap-dancing promise.

As he closes out his promise video, he’s making wings. “I’m coming for you,” he says, breathlessly. “I’ll keep doing wings until you come and join the challenge.

“This is for you, UCs. This is for you, Aggies, especially.”

Campaign runs until Oct. 31

Promise for Education grants and scholarships will be in addition to what students receive from UC’s traditional financial aid program. In some cases, the money will help middle-income students who would not normally qualify for aid. In other cases, students who may already qualify for some aid will get more.

The campaign runs until Oct. 31: “Only six weeks to support our students and stand behind our premier public university system,” the website states.

Promise for Education is a “crowd-funding” campaign: You make a promise, share it with your connections on social media (every promise page includes Facebook and Twitter buttons), invite donations and ask your connections to share your promise with their connections, and so on and so on. Alternatively, promises can be shared by email (an email button sets up your message; all you have to do is fill in the address or addresses).


Earlier coverage: "Students, alums, administrators make 'Promises for Education," Dateline UC Davis (Sept. 18, 2013)

Follow Promise for Education on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow Dateline UC Davis on Twitter.

Media contact(s)

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556,