Williams family gives study abroad scholarship

The family of Mac Williams, associate professor of Spanish at Coker College, has endowed a study abroad scholarship in memory of his father, John McLarty Williams, Jr.

“I spent a semester abroad as an undergraduate that would not have been possible without the scholarship I received,” said Provost Tracy Parkinson.

“Thanks to my own experience, I am keenly aware of the transformative nature of these kinds of experiences. At Coker, we hope for study abroad or study away to be attainable for as many students as possible, so that they may have that same kind of experience. Scholarships like this one open countless doors, and I feel fortunate that our students can benefit from them.”

John Williams was from Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Upon his death, he served as president and CEO of eFolder, Inc.

According to Mac Williams, his father felt that people need to travel abroad in order to see how other people live, both to enlighten themselves and to understand the uniqueness of the American lifestyle. The Williams family established this scholarship in memory of his belief in the power of travel and higher education to transform people’s lives.

“When I was 19 years old, I spent two years living and studying in Costa Rica,” said Mac Williams. “That experience had a profound impact on my worldview, on my idea of fulfillment, of needs, of wants, and of happiness. I would not be the person I am today had I not gone abroad. Few experiences in life can impact someone so greatly as seeing that most of the world doesn’t live the way people do where that person is from, and yet, they are still happy and successful. I believe that every college student in the United States of America should study abroad.”

The first scholarships to be presented from the endowment have been awarded to students Anthony Malik and Naomi Watson, both of whom will study abroad in San Ramón, Costa Rica during the fall semester.

For more information on study abroad opportunities and scholarships, contact Assistant Dean and Director of the Center of Engaged Learning Darlene Small at (843) 383-8039 or dsmall@coker.edu.

Author: Duane Childers

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