Sandy Godwin, ʼ79, and Carolyn Hart have traveled all over the world together with the Meredith Travel Program. Those experiences, along with Hart’s own life-changing study abroad experience in Germany as a student at Vanderbilt, have led them to establish a $100,000 endowment for study abroad at Meredith College.
The Bailey-Webb Study Abroad Scholarship is named after Becky Bailey and Betty Webb, ’67, who organize and customize many of the trips for the Meredith Travel Program. Webb is a professor emerita and also the founding director of Meredith’s Office of International Programs, and Bailey is a professor emerita and the former dean of Meredith’s School of Arts.
“Any student or alumna who has traveled with Betty or Becky has benefited from the depth of their knowledge, commitment, and experience and has felt the warmth of their wisdom and caring for each individual in their flock,” said Godwin.
Godwin and Hart have traveled extensively through the Meredith Travel Program on trips to Spain, Cuba, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Because their experiences on each trip have been both educational and fun, they want more students to have the opportunity to travel abroad while attending Meredith.
On their trip to Cuba, they had their most meaningful experience. They spent two nights in the home of a Cuban family where they were able to interact directly, using what little Spanish they knew to better understand the family’s life. On their trip to Lucerne, Switzerland, they enjoyed riding a luge with a group of 10 other daring people. It may not have been educational but they said “it was loads of fun and the setting was indescribably beautiful.”
Godwin and Hart want Meredith students to experience other parts of the world. “We would like for students to gain an understanding of other cultures through their direct interaction with people, and we hope they gain confidence through having to adapt to travel challenges, such as lost luggage and missed trains,” said Hart. “Last but not least, we would like for them to thoroughly enjoy themselves.”
The couple says they both learned from their parents that people have more in common with people from all over the globe than differences. They feel grateful for that lesson and since they do not have children of their own, they wanted to share a study abroad experience with a student who would greatly benefit.
Study abroad experiences have of course been on pause since the pandemic forced Meredith students home in March 2020.
“Meredith students will study abroad again! In fall 2020 alone, our office met with over 200 students who are enthusiastic to study abroad as soon as global health conditions allow. While Meredith students are eager to explore the world, they are also navigating complex financial challenges, especially because of the pandemic. Sandy and Carolyn’s generous gift could not have come at a more perfect time,” said Brooke Shurer, director of international programs.
Everyone is ready to travel again including Godwin and Hart, but they are most excited about seeing a student use their scholarship to study abroad and have lasting memories.
“We are rejuvenated by imagining ‘our’ students venturing into the world, ready to experience beauty, fun, growth, and lasting friendships,” said Godwin. “We also want to encourage them to consider if they are fortunate enough to have more than they need when they are further along in their careers, to pay it forward for another student to see the world.”
Godwin and Hart look forward to their next trip with the Meredith Travel Program whenever that will be and cannot wait for the trips to be led by Bailey and Webb once again. “Their warm and caring natures and the tone they set makes the group feel so comfortable. We look forward to our travels together and hearing about the study abroad experiences of our Meredith scholarship students.”
The reason Godwin and Hart chose to name the scholarship for Bailey and Webb is to provide a vehicle for others to make gifts honoring these travel leaders. Godwin and Hart are quick to note that this endowment is not about them. With that in mind, they hope others whose lives have been touched by Bailey and Webb will want to support the Bailey-Webb Study Abroad Scholarship.