Sunday, April 7, 2019

#50- Schooling and Quakers - Scholarships and College

Higher education (a BA or BS degree and above) for most of the history of the United States has been reachable to only a few: the determined, qualified and monied (or, more recently, those who qualify for student loans).

US colleges initially begun for training ministers in denominations set up the seminary for this purpose, and then they became more broadly defined.

My earliest ancestors were either Quakers or of a denomination which did not have a seminary. The Quakers taught their children (of their community) the basics: reading, writing and ciphering (basic arithmetic). Their incentive was to keep careful records of their "Meetings" (worship centers as they called their churches) as well as committee meetings and monthly and yearly meetings for business (which included aspects of approval and disapproval).

For this reason as well as their belief that men and women are equal, they instructed both girls and boys in the basics.

Generational generosity is so valuable. That's one reason I'm motivated to write personal history: it's generational (me) generosity.

My mother's father Charles B Tilton went to Penn State (State College, PA) on an academic scholarship. He wanted to do horticulture but the scholarship was for dairy farm management. He took it.

He met his wife (my grandmother) there. Her father had close connections with the college through his efforts in setting up all sorts of special programs dealing with fruit growing and transportation.

My grandmother Elizabeth C Tyson was attending college because Quakers believed in schooling for women (this was in the early 1920s) and her father got a break, or a scholarship, I cannot figure out which.

Their daughter, my mother, went to Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island on a scholarship. She loved the fine arts, but was offered a scholarship in textile design. She took it.

My mother met my father in Providence on a blind date. His parents had gone only through grammar school (about 8th grade, but probably more like a 6th grade education because the schools were poor inner city schools).

My father was able to go to college because he qualified for a US Navy scholarship. When they provided the list of colleges he could chose from, he selected the one at the top of the list, not thinking they were alphabetized. So, he chose Brown in Providence. He had a full scholarship.

My husband's parents were not college-educated. His father had a learning disability and never finished high school.

My husband visited a friend who went to college (he was in his final year in high school). He stopped by the admissions office and talked to the people there. When the interviewer asked if he was going to apply my husband told him his parents didn't have enough money for him to go to school. The interviewer told him about the World of Scholarships.

He applied and got a 99% ride, enough money for him to attend college where I met him.

Our two children both applied for scholarships--one had a small loan because he went to a college with a small endowment, the other son had  75% of his college costs covered.

My grandfather worked in WW2 Intelligence and then in the Reconstruction of Europe,
my father got his PhD in Economics, my mother got a masters in Fine Arts and works in fine arts,
my husband got two masters and a PhD in political science. One son has a Masters in Latin American Studies and the other did a double major in college and does stand up and IT.

If you have a dime--give it to a good college's endowment fund--the generational generosity might make a huge difference!

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