Arvonia Elizabeth Vaughn Sprauge
Arvonia Elizabeth Vaughn Sprauge Endowed Scholar Grant
Given by Betsy Bach
Arvonia Elizabeth Vaughn Sprague (1888-1983) was born in Vaughn, Montana, and lived in Montana her entire life. She graduated from Mills College in California, and returned to live in Great Falls with her husband, Hugh Max Sprague. She was the mother of four children and spent time volunteering for various civic organizations. She was an active member of the PEO Sisterhood, and with her father, Robert Vaughn, was a long-time friend and supporter of cowboy artist Charlie Russel and his wife, Nancy.
Ayesha Harrison-Jex Endowed Scholar Grant
Ayesha Harrison-Jex came into the world fighting. She was born prematurely and stayed in the hospital for three and a half months. The same way she came into the world she left – fighting for her life. She was born on November 8th, 1978 and she passed away in October 2019, just before her 41st birthday. Ayesha was a happy child, always smiling, sweet, caring, and sensitive. When cancer (adenoid cystic carcinoma) first attacked her body, she was attending community college; however, after extensive treatment she went on to complete her studies, graduating with a BA in Business Administration at Florida A & M. She followed up her BA with an MBA from the University of Phoenix and worked for many years in the hospitality industry. She became cancer free and for 17 years cancer stayed away. Cancer found its way back into her body in her late 30s. She began to fight a battle again that she ultimately lost and passed away three years after the final diagnosis.
Ayesha had a true fighting spirit and believed that she could better herself by working hard to achieve the goals she set for herself. Ayesha believed that when you are determined to do something – hard work pays off and all dreams do come true. In the words of her mother, Dr. Lucille O’Neal, “We want this grant to honor the hard-working Rankin Scholars, true to the spirit of Ayesha.” Dr. O’Neal shared that she was so happy and blessed to be Ayesha’s mother. She always calls Ayesha her special baby – “she fought to live.” On behalf of Ayesha, the O’Neal Family shares this grant to help Rankin Scholars achieve their dreams.
Hart and Besch Family
Hart and Besch Family Scholar Grant Fund
Rose E. Hart Scholar Grant Fund
Pauline A. Besch Scholar Grant Fund
Debra K. Besch Scholar Grant Fund
Katherine Besch-Hart Scholar Grant Fund
Lorraine R. Hart Scholar Grant Fund
Rose E. Hart
Rose Hart was born in Ipswich, South Dakota in 1909. She received her teaching degree from Huron College and was an elementary school teacher until she married Fred Hart in 1937. Then her career shifted to publishing local South Dakota newspapers along side her husband. She completed her career at the University of South Dakota working in the Psychology Department managing and overseeing research grants. Upon her retirement she volunteered at her church.
Rose valued her education and was proud that her son Loren, daughter Lorraine and granddaughter Katherine Besch-Hart achieved their college education goals, leading to success in their chosen careers. Providing funds to help women advance their education and achieve their goals honors a woman who understood and supported the value of education to her and her family.
Pauline A. Besch
Pauline Besch, the youngest of nine siblings, was born in 1924 and grew up on her family’s farm in Grimes, Iowa. She excelled academically in high school and aspired to attend college. However, with aging parents, WWII and her family’s finances, she instead went to work at Banker’s Life (now Principal Financial). Later, she married Marvin Besch, an officer in the Air Force and traveled America and Europe, an education in itself.
Pauline never ended up attending college, but she raised three accomplished children, Debra, Marvin and Kristi and inspired two granddaughters, Katherine and Megan, while actively volunteering in education and politics. In her 60’s, she became a leader in senior rights and resources, which she continued into her 80’s.
Pauline was one of those women of whom it could be said, “she would have been a CEO, if only….” She would be the first to want to help another woman aspiring to achieve a college education, and this scholarship honors her.
Margaret James Black
Margaret James Black Memorial Scholarship
Given by Tracy Cosgrove
This fund honors the memory of Margaret James Black, who came to Glacier National Park in Montana in the 1920s to work as an executive assistant at Glacier Park Lodge. She met and married Hugh Black, a seasonal park ranger from Michigan, and in 1932 the two founded what became St. Mary Lodge and Resort. While growing the business to include an expanded grand lodge, motels, cottages and cabins, restaurants, gift shops, outfitters, and a supermarket and gas station, Margaret found time to raise six children. She was a generous supporter of her children and their endeavors, as well as her many, many grandchildren. Margaret passed in 2008, at age 105. Her legacy lives on with Margaret Black Cottages/The Cottages at Glacier Park, which today is managed by her youngest daughter and three grandchildren.
Patel, Broaddus, Halloran, Cofer Family
Virginia (Jinx) and Gordhan Patel are establishing this scholarship fund in order to honor these three women who were amazing,
loving, and remarkably strong individuals who stressed the importance of family. This fund honors the memory of Bhuliben
Patel – the mother of Gordhan Lalubhai Patel, the memory of Ferne Virginia Halloran Broaddus – the mother of Virginia (Jinx)
Broaddus Patel, and the memory of Ferne Randolph Broaddus Cofer – the sister of Virginia (Jinx) Broaddus Patel.
Bhuliben Patel was born in Dhaman, a rural village in the state of Gujarat, India. Her marriage to Lalubhai Patel was arranged, and she moved to his village, Kuched. Early in their marriage, Lalubhai and his brother traveled to Mozambique – a Portuguese colony in East Africa where they purchased a banana plantation near the capital city, Lourenco Marques (named Maputo in 1975). Bhuliben soon followed with their first son, Gopal. Their other two children, Gordhan and Laxmi were born in Mozambique in 1936 and 1944, respectively. During those years, Bhuliben and Lalubhai created a family compound of nephews and their families – totaling about twenty-five family members coming from India. Bhuliben directed the activities and organization of this household. In December 1961, when India by military action repossessed Goa, a tiny Portuguese colony in the Indian sub-continent, the Portuguese authorities in Mozambique rounded up all residents with Indian citizenship, confiscated all of their properties and put them in a detention camp for six months. This included Bhuliben, Lalubhai and their family members who were Indian citizens. This excluded their son, Gordhan, who was a college student in the United States, their daughter, Laxmi, and their son Gopal’s wife and their four grandchildren who were Portuguese citizens by virtue of their birth in Mozambique. After six months of detention, all Indian citizens were required to leave Mozambique. However, Bhuliben and Lalubhai were exempted from this deportation order and allowed to remain with Laxmi and Gopal’s wife and their grandchildren. Gopal and the others returned to their ancestral homes in India. Lalubhai died in 1971 and Gopal was allowed to return to Mozambique after being separated from his wife and children for nine years. In 1975, after the communist take-over of Mozambique, Bhuliben and Gopal with his family immigrated to Athens, Georgia and in 1977 moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Bhuliben spent her remaining years surrounded by children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She possessed a marvelous sense of humor and was always active. When she died at the age of a hundred and one plus in 2007, she had lived on three different continents, adapted wonderfully to each, and was so loved and adored by her family.
Ferne Virginia Halloran Broaddus was born in Hinton, West Virginia in 1901.
Hinton was a thriving town in the early 1900s because the trains stopped there
for refueling. Ferne was one of seven children who were all musical, playing
two to three instruments, and always hosting neighborhood parties on their
front porch. As a young woman, Ferne would often play the piano in the
theater to accompany the showing of a silent movie. She met her husband,
Randolph Gwinn Broaddus, MD, when he, as a young surgeon, accepted a
position at the Hinton Hospital. They were married in 1926 and had their first
daughter, Ferne Randolph, in 1927. Their second daughter, Virginia Gwinn
(Jinx) was born in 1937. In 1928, Randolph became superintendent of the
Raleigh General Hospital in Beckley, West Virginia. The family moved up
the mountain twenty-five miles to Beckley in 1942. Her husband Randolph
also established for a few years a nursing school in Beckley because he needed
trained nurses to staff the Raleigh General. Ferne was an exceedingly active
member of St. Stephens Episcopal Church as well as the Raleigh County
Medical Auxiliary, Girl Scouting, the Beckley Woman’s Club, the Monday
Music Club, the Azalea Garden Club , and two historical societies. As a
gracious hostess, Ferne was always having events for these many organizations,
and especially hosting the reunion parties of the Raleigh General Hospital
Nurses Alumnae Association in their home. She was a devoted and loving
wife, mother, and grandmother and stressed the importance of family.
Ferne Randolph Broaddus Cofer was born in Hinton, West Virginia. She
attended private schools, St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, Virginia
and the Ward Belmont School in Nashville, Tennessee, for her secondary
education. She received a Bachelor’s degree from the College of William and
Mary and a degree in Medical Technology from the University of Virginia. In
1950, she married Joseph P. Cofer, a graduate of the Naval Academy and at
that time, a Lieutenant in the Navy. The first ten years of their marriage, they
had three children and moved eleven times living in Monterey, CA; Norfolk,
VA; Charleston, SC; Boston, MS; London, England. When her husband
retired from the Navy as Captain, they settled in Chattanooga, TN, where their
fourth child was born. Ferne worked as a medical technologist and a real estate
broker. She was a founding member of St. Thaddaeus Episcopal Church and
was the first woman to be appointed to the vestry. Ferne was a superior cook
and a gracious hostess. She and Joe had many sets of friend so Ferne was always
hosting gatherings. It was always important for her large family to come to her
home for holiday celebrations. She was a loving and wonderful daughter, wife,
mother, sister, and grandmother and was adored by all who knew her.
Vera & Anne Purser
Vera & Anne Purser Scholar Grant Award
Given by Michael Purser
Vera and Anne were mother and daughter that shared a special bond. Anne was the only girl and youngest sibling to her three brothers, Howard David, and Michael. Vera and Anne both had the drive to complete school, and both did so. Vera returned to school and received her Nursing Certification while in her forties, and Anne received her Master’s degree while in her forties, following in her mother Vera’s footsteps.
When her mothering days were over, Vera dove into Nursing to save lives. Anne entered the world of education and guided young minds to grow and learn in Pre-K. It was education that drove their passion. Vera helped the sick regain their health, and Anne helped establish direction and meaning.
Vera & Anne’s lives were taken unexpectedly while on their way to aid a sick relative. However, Michael (Vera’s son) and Caleb Hannan (Anne’s son) wanted their memory to live on by turning tragedy into triumph for others. Today, the Vera & Anne Purser Award is established to honor Michael’s mother, Vera, and sister Anne through the dreams of others; Preserving the legacy my mother and sister created allows other women with drive and a vision the opportunity to live the lives they want and deserve.- Michael Purser
Waters-Brock Endowed Scholar Grant
Given by J. Maria Waters
This endowment honors the inspirational legacy of Rev Hosie & Mary Louise (Brock) Waters.
the late Mary Ruth Brock, the late Rev Champ & Ida Mae Waters, and the late Odice & Ruby
Rev Hosie and Louise Waters served over 30 years in the educational field. Rev. Hosie Waters, a
Fort Valley State College, University of Oklahoma, and Troy State University graduate, served
as an educator (mathematics, sciences), asst. superintendent, and school superintendent. He was
the first African American School Superintendent in Macon County, Georgia. He also was one
of the first two African Americans to graduate from the master’s natural science program at the
University of Oklahoma in the 1960s. He followed his father’s footsteps in the ministry and
served as pastor of four churches in Middle Georgia. Before he entered the ministry, he also
sang in a gospel group which included one of his older brothers. His wife Louise Waters, a
Spelman College, Fort Valley State University, and Troy State University graduate also served
as an educator (history, economics, geography, civics). They have participated in professional
and/or community organizations. Though they were a few classes short of their PhDs, they
opted not to move their family, especially his mother whom they assisted, to northern Georgia,
which then was the only available location to obtain their PhDs in the 1980s. Their sacrifices for
their family members and teamwork still resonate today.
Mary Ruth Brock, an older sister of Mary Louise Waters, also served over 30 years as an
educator (language arts). She taught in a small Georgia town (Marshallville) but remains in the
hearts of her former students and her relatives. She was a graduate of Jarvis Christian College
and Fort Valley State University. She and her sister Mary Louise (Brock) Waters were close, which is not
coincidental since Mary Ruth Brock named her sister ‘Mary’ so that they could have the same
Their respective parents (Rev Champ & Ida Mae Waters and Odice & Ruby Brock) were
instrumental in their successful journey by stressing family, knowledge, hard work, dedication,
integrity, and faith.
J. Maria Waters, the daughter of Rev. Hosie and Mary Louise Waters, endowed this scholarship
to honor and support the dedication of women who are working to better themselves, their
families, and their communities through education, which the Waters-Brock families feel
Investing in Higher Education for Single Mothers to Transform the U.S. Economy
By Jennifer Zeisler
December 13, 2021
Before it’s too late, we must address a critical gap in this country’s economic recovery strategy: help for single mothers in college. These determined mothers understand the connection between their education and their families’ long-term financial security, and they have proven that they are ready and willing to take on the work that will fuel our future. It’s time for the philanthropic sector to follow their lead.
Over the last five years, ECMC Foundation has funded efforts to improve educational outcomes for single mothers, who represent more than one in ten undergraduates in the United States. We have learned that with a bit of additional support, single mothers can help drive equitable economic growth. As the only national foundation focused on the college success of single mothers, we have also learned that too few funders are making this type of sound investment. Women of color, who disproportionately pursue degrees while parenting, bear the brunt of this lack of investment. To achieve gender and racial equity in the years to come, more funders must commit to ensuring that single mothers have access to the education they want and need.
As we know from the economic recovery from the Great Recession, many jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage require educational attainment beyond high school. Single mothers are distinctly aware of the economic calculus of enrolling in college: Nearly half attend community colleges, where they pursue degrees in health care, information technology, and other middle-skill sectors that have the potential to fuel the country’s economic engine. They know that earning a college degree pays off, and they are right: Single mothers with an associate’s degree are nearly half as likely to live in poverty as those with a high school diploma.
But as the pandemic has made painfully obvious, it is difficult for parents, especially mothers, to work without access to child care. This is especially true for single-mother students, who must balance care, work, and school — and was true long before the pandemic. Facing high poverty rates and having limited time to devote to their studies due to work and family demands, fewer than 10 percent of single-mother students graduate on time.
In fact, single mothers are more likely than any other group of women to have started but not finished a postsecondary degree. This suggests that additional support for single-mother students can make a measurable difference, not only for them but also for the nation’s educational attainment goals. Put simply, we will further perpetuate racial and gender disparities in our education and workforce systems unless we start investing in this population. Furthermore, we will miss out on the talents and contributions this significant segment of the population has to offer. Student parents get better grades than their non-parenting peers, which indicates that their low degree completion rates are a reflection of policies and practices that are failing them, not a lack of aptitude.
“Me having to go to school and work and not get as much time with [my daughter] is hard, yes,” said Sydney, a single mother student, on “1 in 5,” a podcast about student parents. “But I am only doing it to set us up for success.”
Women like Sydney are the very students we should be investing in — driven, gifted, and eager to fill in-demand positions as the U.S. economy recovers.
The lessons we have learned through our investments offer insights for future work that more funders can advance. Based on our learnings, here are three suggestions for how philanthropy can get more involved:
Single mothers need better access to child care, housing, transportation, and other basic needs to persist through degree completion. Access to reliable child care has been shown to triple graduation rates among single mothers; yet, on-campus programs have steadily declined over the last two decades. In one program run by Project Self-Sufficiency, which provides child care to single mothers in college along with case management and financial assistance, nearly three in four single mothers saw their annual income quadruple to $40,000 once they completed the program. The return on this investment is significant: For every dollar we invest in supports for single mother students, the country would get back as much as $5.50, not including the generational impact from their children’s improved well-being.
To inform better decision making, postsecondary institutions must start collecting and analyzing data on the parenting and partnership status of their students. Infrastructure designed to enable baseline data collection and continuous data collection practices is critical, for colleges can support improved outcomes only if they understand their students and their needs. Yet, very few colleges track the parenting or partnership status of their students, although organizations like World Education, Inc. and Education Design Lab, have started working with cohorts of colleges to better identify and serve single mother students. Our grantee partners have worked with fifteen colleges serving more than nineteen thousand single-mother students, but more funders can help us reach the nearly 1.7 million other single mothers enrolled in colleges across the U.S.
Policies and practices must be informed by the lived experiences of single mothers in college. Equipped with reliable data and compelling stories, advocates and students successfully made the case for at least $42 million more in federal funding targeted to student parents, while groups like the Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona have secured additional funding at the state level for programs aimed at improving access to child care and other supports for student parents. Single mothers in college sit at the intersection of many of the systemic issues that our recovery policies must address, including the care crisis, college unaffordability, and racial and gender inequity. It is essential that the voices of single mothers be heard in the public policy debates that will shape our future.
As we debate how to “build back” in the wake of the pandemic, we must rebuild our systems of learning and work to better support the success of single mothers, who move mountains on a daily basis to pursue their degrees while working and parenting. If more funders join us in targeting their resources toward this population, we may be able to advance the systemic change needed to ensure our economic future is grounded in gender and racial equity.
There are few silver bullets in philanthropy, especially for an issue as complex as economic mobility, but investments in single mothers can pay off many times over. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild our economy and social structures to be more equitable. Let’s not let it pass us by.
I Am Not Proof of the American Dream
By Tara Westover
Ms. Westover is the author of the memoir “Educated.”
Feb. 2, 2022
When I think of my first semester of college, the memory comes to me as a physical sensation. I feel tired. There is the siren-screech of an alarm sounding at 3:40 in the morning. I feel it in my teeth. Then images: the orange glow of the jumbo numbers in pitch black, the instinctual, semiconscious tapping of the button, the gradual shrinking of my bed as I climb out of it and move toward the door. I do not change my clothes. It was my habit to dress for the day the night before, because an alarm blaring at 3:40 really does sound much better than an alarm blaring at 3:30.
Outside I feel the Rocky Mountain winter on my cheeks as I begin the scramble to campus on sidewalks that will not be salted for another three hours. I’m heading for the engineering building, where I will pick gum out of short nylon carpet, wipe strange equations from dusty chalkboards, and scour the interior of toilet bowls with an odorless blue gel. I will finish around 8 a.m., then head to class.
This was my routine for the first two months of my freshman year. Then, because I was short on rent, I added a second job, serving coleslaw and Jell-O in the cafeteria. The woman who worked alongside me was also a freshman who could not afford the meal plan. I don’t recall either of us mentioning the fact that we were serving food we could not afford to eat; I don’t recall feeling angry as I hooked my apron in my locker and reached into my backpack for my own lunch, a protein bar and pack of ramen noodles (10 cents at my local grocery store). I also don’t recall feeling humiliated or disrespected to be cleaning plates or toilets used by my classmates. The full complexity of my opinion on inequality and poverty then could have been summed up with utter simplicity: I was tired.
I wrote about these and other experiences in my 2018 memoir, “Educated,” which surprised me by becoming a best seller. My story was one of extremes: born in the mountains of Idaho to Mormon parents who kept me out of school, I had never set foot in a classroom before my first semester of college at Brigham Young University. I graduated in 2008 and won a scholarship to the University of Cambridge, where I earned a Ph.D.
A curious thing happens when you offer up your life for public consumption: People start to interpret your biography, to explain to you what they think it means. At book signings, in interviews, I’m often told that my story is uplifting, that I am a model of resilience, an “inspiration.” Which is a nice thing to be told, so I say thank you. But every so often someone takes it a bit further, and says something to which I do not have a response. I’m told, “You are living proof of the American dream, that absolutely anything is possible for anybody.”
But am I? Is that what the story means?
After being tired, here’s what I remember most about being poor: a pervasive sense of costly trade-offs. Of course you had to take the maximum number of credits, because tuition was expensive; of course you had to pick up that second job, that extra shift, that third side hustle raking leaves or mowing lawns or shoveling snow. The only question I ever asked was how soon could they pay.
The architecture of my life was defined by money, meaning its absence, right down to the alarm blaring at 3:40 a.m. The night shift paid a dollar more, $6.35 an hour instead of $5.35. Never mind that my roommates blasted music until midnight, so that on a typical night, I got around three hours of sleep; never mind that I was dozing through my lectures, or that I spent the entire winter with a raspy cough and string of unexplained sinus infections. It was a dollar more! The math was straightforward and decisive.
My college ambitions nearly came to an abrupt end in my sophomore year. Blinding pain in my lower jaw turned out to be a rotting nerve. I needed a root canal and $1,600 to pay for it. I decided to drop out. My plan was to hitch a ride to Las Vegas, where my brother was working as a long-haul trucker, and to get a job working at the In-N-Out Burger across the street from his trailer.
Then, a leader at my church pulled me aside and insisted that I apply for a Pell Grant, a federal program that helps poor kids pay for college. Days later a check arrived in the mail for $4,000. I had never seen that much money, could not wrap my brain around the amount. I didn’t cash it for a week, afraid of what possession of such a sum might do to me. Then the throbbing in my jaw motivated me to take a trip to the bank. I got the root canal. For the first time, I purchased the required textbooks for my classes. There was money left over, more than a thousand dollars, so I quit the cafeteria and swapped the night for the day shift. I stopped sleeping through my classes; the cough dried up, the infections cleared.
The day I cashed that check is the day I became a student. It’s the day the current of my thoughts shifted from obsessively tracking the balance of my bank account, down to the dime, to obsessively tracking my coursework. It was an experience not of wealth but of security, and with security, the freedom to ask questions about what I wanted from my life. What did I enjoy doing, or thinking about? What was I good at? I started seeking out and studying books outside the required reading; I took courses that were not required, for the simple reason I was interested in them, and I had the time.
Every decision I made from that moment on was a function of that check. In those desperate years a few thousand dollars was enough to alter the whole course of my life. It contained a universe. It allowed me to experience for the first time what I now know to be the most powerful advantage of money, which is the ability to think of things besides money. That’s what money does. It frees your mind for living.
It’s tempting to tell my story in the way people want me to. I would love to be the hero, and say that it’s all about hard work and determination, the white-knuckled triumph of the human will. But if I put my ego aside, I know that’s not the case. I entered college in 2004. I attended Brigham Young University, a private college heavily subsidized by the Mormon Church. Tuition was $1,640 a semester. This was before the housing crisis, when it was possible to find a shared room in a shabby apartment for just $190 a month. What these numbers meant, in real terms, was that it was possible for me to work my way through college.
I could make enough to cover tuition by bagging groceries for $5.35 an hour during the summers. Back then, the nearly $3,000 I needed for two semesters seemed staggering, and it necessitated me saying the words “Paper or plastic?” an unthinkable number of times. But it was possible. Without family money, without cultural advantages. It was a thing that could be done, if only just, if you really wanted it.
For kids today from poorer backgrounds, the path I took through education no longer exists. The numbers are not imaginable — not if your parents are truckers or farmers or cleaners or cabdrivers, maybe the hardest-working people in our country. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the last three decades, tuition at four-year colleges has more than doubled, even after you adjust for inflation. A 2019 report by the Institute for Higher Education Policy tells us that at some state flagship schools (not fancy private schools, just regular four-year public universities), low-income students are asked to cover some $80,000 beyond what they can afford. Even at B.Y.U., one of the most affordable four-year colleges in the country, tuition has nearly doubled since I graduated.
A Pell Grant was my first taste of financial security. Now even a full grant would be wholly inadequate, because of the rising costs of tuition and housing. When the program was established 50 years ago, the largest grant covered 79 percent of the costs to attend a four-year public college. Today it covers just 29 percent. It’s not enough. What that grant offered me — security, peace of mind, a space in which to consider, for the first time, what sort of life I wanted — it no longer offers.
To poor kids today, we present a no-win scenario. We shout shrilly that they must get a college degree, because without one they can’t hope to compete in the globalized economy, but even as we say it, we doubt our own advice. We know that we are asking them to bury themselves in debt at a moment when it is very uncertain what kind of job they will be able to get or how long it will take them to repay the loans. We know it, and they know it. For them, the American dream has become a taunt. Perhaps my story is proof not of the persistence of the American dream but of its precarity, even its absence.
The solutions are multitude. We could restore funding to public universities and insist that they operate as public utilities, rather than as strictly profit-driven businesses. We could increase Pell grants and reform student debt. If we were more ambitious, we could tackle the supreme inequality that, in recent decades, has disfigured every fact and facet of social and political life.
For my part, I will begin by telling my own story differently — by discarding that fashionable old fable that reduces any tale of success to one of grit and diligence. I will admit that, to be frank, it was an easier time, and things were better. Our institutions were better. Perhaps that is what the story is about, inasmuch as it is about anything. There is the one thing I learned when I cashed that check: that people cannot always be resilient, but a country can.