Political Science Professor Renford Reese was first bitten by the travel bug as a college senior at Vanderbilt University. His initial study abroad trip to France, and also Germany fundamentally changed Reese, who has traveled to 104 countries. He now leads annual, short-term study abroad trips to places like Ghana, Mumbai, Brussels and Hong Kong for Cal Poly Pomona students. However, with costs ranging from $2,500 for a two-week trip to Europe and $4,500 for Africa, the experience is out of reach for many students who don’t have the funds.
Dr. Renford Reese hopes to bridge that experience gap with the help of a $100,000 donation he recently made to fund study abroad opportunities for students. The money will fund 20 $500 scholarships over 10 years. Dr. Reese hope to double the fund to $200,000, enough to provide 40 scholarships.
Your gift on Giving Day to the Cal Poly Pomona Travel fund will be matched by Dr. Reese, making double the impact.
“The university, the students, the staff and my colleagues – they have given me everything,” said the 54-year-old, who has been at Cal Poly Pomona for 26 years. “And I want to give back to the university what the university has given me. I didn’t want to do it in my will. I wanted to do it while I am still living.”
Reese said that while the gift is targeting the general undergraduate population, he wants to encourage formerly incarcerated students in the university’s Project Rebound program, as well as students in Renaissance Scholars and McNair Scholars to also apply for study abroad travel funds.
“It’s not uncommon for our students to never have imagined that international experience could be a part of their academic career,” Matt Walters, director of the university’s International Center,
An internal source of scholarships like the one Reese is supporting will help those students who might otherwise miss the deadline for these sorts of opportunities, Walters added.
“The most transformative experience for my students has been study abroad. While you might see a student evolve over a semester, when they are abroad, you see students grow and evolve every hour with every activity,” he said. “I know the power of travel, how transformative it is. There is beauty all over the world, and if I can expose students to a fraction of what I experienced by traveling the world, that will be a success.”
The Office of Study Abroad is committed to engaging the campus community in a collective partnership to provide valuable, high-quality and academically-sound study abroad programming that expands opportunities for where, when and how students learn
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