Study Abroad Endowment Targets Students From Three Counties

Carolina students from Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties now may receive special consideration for scholarships to fund study abroad, thanks to two Carolina alumnae.

Mary Anne Johnson Dickson ’63 and Martha O’Neal Johnson ’76 of Charlotte have established the Charles Garland Johnson Sr. Scholars Fund to honor their late father and provide study abroad scholarships for students who otherwise might not have the opportunity.

“Having grown up in the small town of Elkin in Surry County, we wanted to be able to give students from rural counties the benefit of travel,” Johnson said.

Carolina students whose applications for semester and yearlong programs are accepted by UNC’s Study Abroad Office will be eligible for Garland Johnson Scholarships. Preference will be given to students from the three counties.

Each student selected as a Garland Johnson Scholar will receive at least $5,000 to participate in a University-approved semester or yearlong program. The scholarships will be awarded to at least five students each year. An additional scholarship will be awarded for up to the total amount of a study abroad program to a student with compelling financial need. The study abroad director and a faculty committee will select the recipients.

The gift counts toward the $1.8 billion goal of the Carolina First fund-raising campaign to support Carolina’s vision of becoming the nation’s leading public university. At more than $700,000, the gift is the largest endowed study abroad fund in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Honoring our father this way was a natural fit,” Dickson said. “Our parents enjoyed traveling, we both love traveling and one of the chancellor’s goals is for every student, whether he or she can afford it, to have the opportunity to study and travel abroad.”

Robert Miles, UNC’s study abroad director, said the new fund increases significantly the number of scholarships that the office can offer, including substantial awards to students whose financial circumstances prohibit study abroad.

The office, part of UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences, offers more than 260 programs in 64 countries. The costs of study abroad often keep some students from participating. While some scholarships are available, there are not enough to meet the demand, Miles said.

Dickson has served Carolina in many capacities. She was on the Board of Visitors from 1996-2000, chairing the group in 1998-99. She currently serves on the Carolina First steering committee and is one of three chairs of the Carolina Women’s Leadership Council, on which Johnson also serves. Johnson also is a member of the advisory board for international and area studies.

Students interested in applying for Garland Johnson Scholarships should contact the Office of Study Abroad in the Porthole Building. Study abroad applications are due early each semester.

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