As she prepares to graduate from Franklin & Marshall College, Julia MacDonald '13 reflects on the opportunities she had during an active undergraduate career. The New Hampshire native launched an English as a Second Language (ESL) program for immigrants and refugees in Lancaster; was a member of Life After College Success; traveled to Argentina for a summer study program; and served as a coordinator and leader of the College's Spring Admit program.
Helping to make MacDonald's academic and civic engagement possible was support from The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Endowed Scholarship Fund, which launched at F&M in 2011 with a $1 million grant to provide need-based financial aid to students. The Harrisburg, Pa.-based Stabler Foundation was established in 1966 to provide grants for charitable, religious, scientific, literary and educational purposes.
"Support from the Stabler Foundation makes me more aware of the amazing opportunities I've had at F&M," MacDonald said of the foundation, which recently bolstered its commitment to F&M students with an additional $400,000 gift to the scholarship fund. "I've tried to get everything I can out of my government major, and to make the most of every opportunity I have here. I've become academically and civically engaged."
MacDonald is one of six Stabler Scholars who have benefitted from the endowed fund since 2011. The funds drawn from the endowed scholarship add to the College's investment of $37.5 million in support of scholarships and grants this academic year, benefitting the nearly 51 percent of the student body that receives some form of need-based financial aid.
"Bolstering our endowed, need-based financial aid enables us to attract and retain a student body of the highest possible promise," said Daniel Lugo, F&M's vice president and dean of admission and financial aid. "It allows bright and talented students to engage in the dynamic liberal arts education that is the hallmark of F&M."
Stabler Scholarship recipients are required to do their best to "pay it forward" to future F&M students by contributing to the Stabler Scholarship Fund within five years of graduation or after repaying any legally binding educational loans. The pledge helps ensure the growth of the fund over time -- an effort in which MacDonald is excited to take part.
"I'm enthusiastic to give back to the Stabler Fund," said MacDonald, who plans to launch an importation business later this year to aid communities in India and Argentina. "I believe in the philosophy of paying it forward, which is what we've tried to do with the ESL program."