Sunday, February 15, 2009

Charity of the Month: The Foreman Fund

Today, I'm going to tell you the story about how I went to college for free...

I actually went to four different colleges. The first one was Birmingham-Southern College. That's where I met Todd. I had tuition covered here thanks to a scholarship from the Swedish organization "The Sweden-America Foundation." They selected 40 students each year for studies abroad. My scholarship lasted for a year, so I returned to Sweden after a year with Todd in tow. :)

The second college I went to was Linköpings Universitet in Sweden, so that was free by default (isn't socialism cool...?). After a semester studying religion, I decided to drop out so I could work and save up money for our wedding and upcoming move back to the US.

When we moved to Waco, TX (post baby), I decided to go back to school. There was a community college called McLennan Community College (MCC) that seemed like a good starting point. It was cheap, but we had no money. That is when our fabulous church, First Presbyterian Church of Waco, TX, came to the rescue. I applied to The Foreman Fund (run by the church) and received a scholarship that covered the MCC tuition. I went to school two days a week while Rebecka was at Mother's Day Out and attended an evening class or two. MCC was awesome. The teachers loved me because I studied. I learned a lot, especially in History, Social Studies, and English.

However, I couldn't go to school forever at MCC. The only four-year college in town was Baylor University. It was expensive. Really expensive. We were not that hopeful that we could make it work financially, but I applied anyway. One day in the spring of my last semester at MCC, I received an unforgettable phone call. It was the US Ambassador to Sweden, Lyndon Olson Jr. I had met the ambassador on a few occasions since we had common friends (he was from Waco). However, I never imagined that he would call my house. He explained that he had just given a talk at Baylor (he's an alumnus) and that he wanted to give his stipend (around $3,000) toward my education. He continued to say that he would talk to his friend in the development department and see what else he could do. I was speechless and had to fight to hold back my tears. We were not ready to leave Waco and this would hopefully allow us to stay for at least two more years.

When I received my financial aid package from Baylor, I had to do a retake. Full tuition! No, that can't be right. But it was. I was going to Baylor! I ended up with a degree in Computer Science with a 4.0 GPA. I received a comp sci scholarship after my first year at Baylor, which helped with miscellaneous expenses.

The Foreman Fund continued to support me through the Baylor years allowing me to pay for fees and books. I even had enough money to eat lunch at school one day a week! (This was a treat.) It is such an honor to be able to give back to the fund that really changed my life and the life of our entire family.

Thank you First Pres and Ambassador Olson!

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