By Brenda Whately, Director of Alumni Relations, UWCSEA
“Education is critical and I’ve found there to be few experiences in life as fulfilling as enabling a child who is really capable, who would not otherwise get the chance at a world class education, to benefit from one.” - Robert Milton ’78
UWCSEA alumni Robert Milton ’78 and Lizanne Milton ’83 are changing the lives of young people and helping to create future leaders through their incredible generosity and passion for providing transformational education opportunities to deserving students.
In 2011 the Miltons put in place an endowed scholarship at UWCSEA, two endowed scholarships at Robert’s alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in the US, and a fourth endowed scholarship to fund a UWCSEA student to attend Georgia Tech. Since then, they have established a further endowed scholarship at the University of Virginia.
There have been four students to date who have earned the Lizanne ’83 and Robert A Milton ’78 Endowed Scholarship to attend UWCSEA and two UWCSEA graduates who have earned the Miltons’ Georgia Tech scholarship.
The first to earn both scholarships, to attend both UWCSEA and Georgia Tech, was Chi, from Vietnam. Chi attended UWCSEA from 2011 to 2013 and Georgia Tech from 2013 to 2017.
As a university student, Chi continued to involve herself in myriad activities just as she had done at UWCSEA. She was a member of the Women’s Chorus and the GT Dance Company for three of the four years of her undergraduate programme, and worked as a teaching assistant for the School of Maths. In the summer of 2015 she participated in a study abroad trip to France with a focus on French culture and language and in the summer of 2016 she engaged in a summer research programme for undergraduates in Mathematics at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
In May 2017 Chi graduated with a degree in Applied Mathematics from Georgia Tech with highest honours and in September 2017 she entered the first year of her PhD in Math at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
When asked what her time at UWCSEA has meant to her, Chi says, “Looking back on my time there, I think I was very well prepared for college. I was very quick to adjust to changes in my surroundings thanks to my time living among friends from all over the world, and the IB prepared me well for the workload and need for time management. I still remember my time at UWCSEA with a lot of fondness and I am grateful for the scholarships that the Miltons provided me for my education at both UWCSEA and Georgia Tech. The investment they made in my education was the foundation for all the achievements that I have made, and gave me the access to opportunities that I would not have gotten otherwise.”
We wish Chi all the best in her PhD programme.
The second student to earn the Miltons’ scholarship to UWCSEA was Anh, another young woman from Vietnam. Anh started her UWCSEA education in 2013 and graduated in 2015, subsequently earning a Davis scholarship to attend Wellesley College in the US where she is currently pursuing a double major in Economics and Mathematics.
Remaining as busy and involved at Wellesley as she was at UWCSEA, Anh has been learning her third language, Korean, and participated in a six-week study-abroad program at Yonsei University in Seoul. She says, “Through my involvement with language classes and the Korean culture, I am progressing toward my goal of understanding East Asia, comparing and contrasting development in East Asian countries with that in Vietnam.” Anh is also carrying out economic research with a faculty member on Gender Differences in Entrepreneurial Outcomes which she hopes will benefit female entrepreneurs.
As she graduated from UWCSEA, Anh said, “The most powerful takeaway from UWCSEA for me, is that our race, our skin colour and our nationality don’t speak wholly for who we are.” She says of the Miltons and their scholarship, “UWCSEA has enabled many things I have today, including my constant intellectual growth and progress, and for that no words can express my gratitude to Robert and Lizanne for making my two years there possible.”
The second UWCSEA student to enter Georgia Tech on a Milton scholarship is Davit, a young man from Armenia who has just begun his university studies in September 2017, majoring in Computer Science. We wish Davit a wonderful and rewarding journey ahead.
The third student to receive the Miltons’ scholarship to attend UWCSEA was Sivhuo, a young woman from Cambodia who entered in 2015 and graduated in May 2017, subsequently earning a Davis scholarship to Macalester College in the US where she hopes to pursue studies leading to a medical degree. As she left UWCSEA she said, “The education system in this school has taught me to be a student who loves challenging myself, seeks out opportunities and is always well prepared for them. Moreover, we are taught to put our values into action through service and that is something that is meaningful to me and will always stay with me.”
The fourth and current UWCSEA scholar to benefit from the Miltons’ generosity and commitment to educating deserving young people is Aquib, a young man from Guyana South America who arrived this August. He says, “When I heard that I had been offered a scholarship to UWCSEA, it was probably one of the most ecstatic days of my life so far … the one thought that struck was that this is the path to my future.”
Aquib will graduate from UWCSEA in 2019 and head off to university, Davit will graduate from Georgia Tech in 2021 and both will be followed on a regular basis by more outstanding students benefiting from the Miltons’ life changing endowed scholarships.
Given these opportunities, some of these students will no doubt go on to become future leaders in their field of study, career or community, bring positive change to their home countries or perhaps even become world leaders. As Aquib says, “ are giving the gift of education, which as Nelson Mandela said, ‘is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world’.”
Photo: Robert Milton ’78, currently serves as the Chairman of United Airlines, and as a Director and Trustee of many other corporate and philanthropic boards. Robert won the ‘Top 40 under 40’ award recognition for those who have achieved significant levels of success in leadership and innovation before age 40, founding his own airline company in his twenties and becoming President and CEO of Air Canada by age 39.