About the author
Andra Liwag serves as director of communications for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.
"I wanted to help students have life-changing experiences."
– Margaret Reid, professor of political science
by Andra Liwag
Focusing on international education is not unusual at the university's J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences – after all the college's namesake is quoted as saying "international educational exchange is the most significant current project designed to continue the process of humanizing mankind to the point, we would hope, that men can learn to live in peace."
But for the average student, studying abroad often comes with potentially prohibitive costs. And, if a student doesn't have the financial means, such essential educational opportunities can easily fall by the wayside.
That's why Margaret Reid, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, knew when she wanted to create a lasting legacy to honor her late husband it would have to address this need.
"I wanted to help students have life-changing experiences," she said.
So with a gift of $50,000, Reid established the Jack J. Reid Endowed Travel Abroad Fund to give deserving students enrolled in the Department of Political Science at the Fulbright College the resources to support international travel experiences.
Reid and her husband were married for 40 years and first met in Sweden, when he was teaching there through the University of Central Oklahoma. The couple's love of international travel, education and each other formed the bedrock of their relationship.
"He was so passionate about travel," Reid said. "He traveled because of war experiences as well, and knew what value there was in international education."
Unfortunately, Jack passed away in April 2015. While settling his affairs, Reid began to think, 'What can I do? How can I commemorate his life's work?' She soon settled on creating the endowment.
"We'd had some conversations about doing something like this someday," she said. "It's completely natural and logical. I felt it was the best way to honor both his memory and the way he felt travel benefitted students."
Reid said the endowed fund would take a few months to mature, but that scholarships will likely be awarded as soon as spring 2017.
"My hope is that this fund will help students be able to live in a country for a while like a native. Different cultures and new people there will excite and hopefully inspire them," Reid said.
She is particularly eager for undergraduate Millennial students to experience the benefits of studying abroad. "The Millennial mind shift is all about community engagement," she said. "These students want to make an impact now and not wait until the grass grows underfoot. There are great opportunities internationally to make positive change."
Ultimately, Reid said she also hopes her gift makes others consider making their own gift in support of something they love.
"This was a much better way of creating a legacy," she said. "The endowment will be used in perpetuity, and could help students completely change their lives. It's a good feeling."
For more information about the Jack J. Reid Endowed Travel Abroad Fund or to make a donation, contact Blake B. Rickman, interim director of development for Fulbright College, at 479-575-3712 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.