Scholarship encourages acceptance

A new scholarship through the International Education and Exchange Programs (IEEP) office has been created with preference for gay and lesbian students.

The Lawrence R. Hyer/Edward Pascoe Study Abroad Scholarship, named after its donors, will provide funds for students who intend to study abroad for a semester or a year on a UM program.

The donors requested that preference being given to self-identified gay and lesbian applicants. It is not clear from the application form if  preference is also given to others in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.

The scholarship is offered for up to $2,500 to study abroad for a year or semester and requires an application and interview process.

“It’s a vote of confidence in students who receive the scholarship,” said Edward Pascoe, one of the donors.

Pascoe studied abroad himself for a year in Rome during his undergraduate study and said it was “one of the most impactful experiences” of his college years. This is the second study abroad scholarship named after Pascoe, the first being offered to residents of Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe Counties.

“[Studying abroad] broadens people, makes them more liberal, tolerant and accepting, something of great importance today,” Pascoe said.

Lawrence Hyer, the other donor, did not study abroad himself,  but sees the value of doing so.

“Students can come back to Miami and be a better citizen,” Hyer said. “It is an opportunity that can have a real influence on the study abroad recipient.”

Student interest regarding the scholarship is building, though not everyone is pleased with the idea.

“Why should any student be offered preference for a scholarship based on any fact other than merit or financial need?” senior Heath Saunders asked.

Paige Giusfredi, president of SpectrUM, thinks the scholarship is a great idea.

“It helps to reaffirm that the university supports all minorities,” Giusfredi said. “This is especially important at a time where GLBT rights aren’t often guaranteed or even respected.”