Meredith College is pleased to announce that an anonymous donor has recently given a $1 million planned gift to the Sansepolcro program. The gift will support scholarships and maintenance of the Palazzo Alberti, the living and learning space for Meredith students and faculty.
“After two trips to Sansepolcro with the Meredith Travel Program, I see how important and valuable this study abroad program is for Meredith students,” said the donor. “These trips confirm my belief that study abroad is needed and important, and a place like Sansepolcro is indeed special and unique.”
This gift was made by a donor whose family has a long history with Meredith, even establishing a scholarship fund in the early 1920s for tuition. The scholarship was permanently endowed 11 years ago by the anonymous donor so the family name would continue to live on and provide financial assistance to those who needed it. In 2011, the donor decided to revise its purpose and now this scholarship provides support for undergraduate students with financial need who are studying abroad.
“I want to share my passion for travel by enabling future generations of students to experience the joy, intellectual stimulation, and excitement of exploring other countries and cultures,” said the donor in 2011.
After visiting Sansepolcro and seeing the small community where students are living and learning, the donor created a new $1 million planned gift.
“Studying abroad gives these young women confidence and it broadens their horizons. The curriculum is quite broad and the arts, architecture, and weekend trips teach them so much. It gives them a different perspective,” said the donor.
Meredith has had a presence in Sansepolcro, Italy, for more than 25 years. In 2009, Meredith began leasing the 16th century Palazzo Alberti and the program has continued to grow.
“More than 350 students, 130 alumnae, 40 faculty, 20 staff, and many friends of the College have experienced this special place,” said Brooke Shurer, director of international programs. “The opportunity to study in an authentic Tuscan town, where we are welcomed as members of the community, sets Meredith College apart.”
The donor also saw on her trips to Sansepolcro how wonderful the facility is and that it is truly a home for Meredith.
“The people of Sansepolcro have taken these students under their wing and interact with them daily. They are truly a part of the community, which is so important,” said the donor. “The size of the town allows for this interaction and it is a special place allowing the students to look back on the whole experience fondly.”
The donor enjoys receiving the thank you letters from students who have received the family scholarship and was able to have lunch recently with four of the students to share in their experiences.
Caitlin Oliver, ’18, said, “Through the Sansepolcro program, I proved to myself that I have what it takes to travel independently. Moreover, the experience gave me the opportunity to become a part of the Sansepolcro community. It became my second home. With the generous support of donors, Meredith can continue to provide this gateway for women to develop the skills to become global citizens.”
Ann Cox,’18, who studied in Sansepolcro in fall 2015, says the gifts to the program are vital because study abroad fees only cover so much of what makes the Meredith study abroad experience as magical as it is.
“The benefits of this program are not all easily broken down into skills I can put on a resume. The simultaneous feelings of new-found independence and belonging in a new community all while receiving a Meredith education are irreplaceable. Gifts like these ensure that generations of students to come will be able to hone these skills and live these life-changing experiences,” said Cox.
The Meredith community is excited about this gift, but no one more than Catherine Rodgers,’76, director of Meredith in Italy.
“The gift from this generous donor will ensure that Meredith's program in Italy will continue to grow and thrive for years to come. We are grateful to them for acknowledging the importance of studying abroad and the unique nature of our program in Sansepolcro in such a special way,” said Rodgers.
Learn more about study abroad and the Sansepolcro program at meredith.edu/study-abroad.
Meredith College is pleased to announce other recent gifts for study abroad.
Natalie Braswell Broyhill, ’09, and Penn Broyhill Study Abroad Endowment Fund
A planned gift of more than $270,000 to support the greatest needs of study abroad.
“A scholarship made it possible for me to study abroad, and I love the idea of paying it forward for the benefit of future students. It is important to keep the funds open for what the program needs at the time, whether that’s training and on-site visits for staff, scholarships for students, or anything in between.”
Dr. Bernie Cochran Honors Study Abroad Scholarship Endowment
A $25,000 current gift
“As founding director of the Honors Program in the 1980s, I have been pleased with the success and expansion of the program. The Study Abroad Program is a valuable contribution to a student's broadening of her horizons. I am fortunate to be able to combine both of these interests with a gift to help Honors students experience the joy and the educational enrichment of study abroad.”
The Four Graces Endowment for Study Abroad by Susan H. Metts, ’71
A planned gift of $25,000
“I made the gift to honor the memory of my mother and in appreciation for her love and devotion to my two sisters and me. She was one of the strongest women I have ever known. My hope is that students will find the same joy in travel that I have and their lives will be enriched.”
Vickie Owens Robinson, ’74, and Jim Robinson Scholarship Endowment for Study Abroad
A planned gift of $150,000
“We believe that seeing beyond our ‘nest’ has helped us to realize how very fortunate we are. We have seen and experienced things that shape and confirm our beliefs and values. We have also seen and experienced things that challenge us once we return home. Through sharing a little from our resources we are hopeful that other kindred spirits will get a chance to experience these things.”
Meredith Marr Watson, ’74, and Michael David Watson Study Abroad Scholarship
A $50,000 current gift
“I love Meredith! As a student, I was not able to travel internationally. In the past 15 years, I have started traveling with Meredith and have thoroughly enjoyed this experience. We wanted to give an endowment to Meredith to help students who might like to study abroad.”