Patroness, Dr. med. Vaira Inta Pelēķis-Christopher (1936) was born in Latvia. During the World War II, she, along with her family, fled to Germany, and later, in 1950, arrived in New Jersey, USA. She finished elementary school in a refugee camp in Germany, while gymnasium – in America. Subsequently, she studied in Geneva, Switzerland, receiving her doctorate in medicine, specializing in pathology. Vaira Inta Pelēķis-Christopher currently lives in the United States and is a board member of the "Friends of the University of Latvia".

Before her studies in Geneva, V. Pelēķis-Christopher enrolled in a college where she studied French. It was her college studies that changed her life – during her third year of studies, an opportunity appeared to spend one semester in a European country. The future patroness chose Switzerland, where the support of benefactors enabled her to study fully and effectively. After graduating from college, she returned to Geneva, where she received her doctorate in medicine.

V. Pelēķis-Christopher has become a patroness guided by her own experience, since benefactors had assisted herself in accomplishment of her studies.

Regarding the beginning of her cooperation with the University of Latvia Foundation's grant programme "Ceļamaize" ("Bread for the journey"), the patroness says: "I have always supported various projects related to Latvia, especially education. Since retiring in 1995, I have been very active in charity projects (related to medicine, church, orphanages scholarships, and other causes). In 2006, on my 70th birthday, I decided to give the University of Latvia a scholarship for my father, Kārlis Pelēķis, because my father was the first of our family to enter higher education and he was always very proud of it."

The patroness remembers that her own financial circumstances on the way to higher education were quite reduced, and appreciates the people who helped her achieve the goal: "When I was studying, my financial circumstances were very limited. There were cases and people who made it possible for me to study. Now is my time to try to give this opportunity to Latvian youth."

Every graduate of the University of Latvia who earns money with the knowledge gained in studies, should remember their university. "If every graduate donated at least twenty or so euro a year to the University of Latvia Foundation, there would be far more lucky students for whom the scholarship is the only salvation. This practice is popular in America and people don't forget their “mother of knowledge” once they graduate," believes Vaira Pelēķis-Christopher.

Patroness' wish to scholarship recipients: "Appreciate this opportunity to acquire education, apply what you have acquired and work with confidence in your country!"


In 2006, the patroness began to support the scholarship programme "Ceļamaize". In the 2007/2008 academic year, the scholarship was awarded to the UL Faculty of Theology student Santa Ezergaile (Siņicina). The amount of donation: EUR 1 494.

In 2008, the patroness continued her support to scholarship, donating EUR 1 494.

In 2014 and 2015, she donated to scholarships, altogether EUR 3 362.

In 2017, the patroness donated EUR 3 750.

In 2019, the patroness donated EUR 2 642.24.

We greatly appreciate the generous support to education and development!