from The Bridge: Spring/Summer 2011 issue
When Jim Boardman was a student at W&L majoring in history, "not one course in Asian studies was offered, let alone a whole program." Boardman, a former managing director of Chase Manhattan Bank who spent 20 years working and living in East Asia--Japan, Korea and the Philippines--felt this gap in his education.
To ensure that current students can experience Asia firsthand, Boardman has given $66,000 toward the Boardman Family East Asia Travel Fund. For the past four years, eight students majoring in either Chinese or Japanese have used the James Boardman Study Abroad Scholarships. With this gift, even more students will be packing their bags. "We have expanded the program to be inclusive of all of Asia now," says Boardman, of Riverside, Conn.
Billy Webster, who helped establish the John M. Evans Endowment for International Studies in honor of his former English professor a decade ago, studied in Germany on a Fulbright while at W&L. "I never would have gone to Germany if it weren't for John," says Webster. "I credit him with being a formative influence. He had a great impact on many people's lives. He had students in his home every night.
"The Evans Endowment has supported international study and travel in a more limited way than the new endowment hopes to do," continues Webster, the chair of Advance America, of Spartanburg, S.C.
He has committed $500,000 toward a new fund, the John M. Evans Fund for International Experiences. "We hope the new endowment will reach a more robust $3 million-plus. W&L's capital campaign is emphasizing the international component of the student experience," Webster adds. (The campaign goal for endowing such opportunities is $3 million.)
Webster, who talks with Evans twice a month, continues, "The real enduring strength of W&L is the kind of lasting relationships that people form here that are very uncommon in other universities." He hopes the endowment will help students form similar relationships abroad.
"In a global world, cultural literacy is becoming increasingly important, to the point of being critical in the skill set you need to live and gain employment."