September 24, 2022

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Investing of their roots – JMU

Investing of their roots – JMU

SUMMARY: Donors Sue Cumpston (’82) and Lori Mowen (’80) say schooling is essential to ending poverty.

In the summertime of 1978, Grease was the phrase and Trapper Keepers had been the brand new, must-have faculty provide. A 12 months at JMU price about $3,000 (tuition, room/board and books) for out-of-state pupil Lori Mowen (’80), which she earned by working 16-hour days inside a scorching Corning Ware plant. Whereas studying to stability campus life — Accounting lessons, area hockey, new associates — Mowen additionally wanted a considerable paycheck. 

“It was exhausting,” she mentioned. “But it surely’s tougher now. A primary-generation pupil like me, they’re already coming in behind the monetary eight ball. There are few summer time jobs that might cowl right this moment’s prices, regardless of what number of shifts they choose up.”

Mowen’s future spouse, Sue Cumpston (’82), arrived as a first-generation freshman that fall, dealing with her personal set of challenges. “I used to be completely overwhelmed,” Cumpston remembered. She moved from a rural West Virginia residence with out indoor plumbing or scorching water, decided to alter her life in Harrisonburg. “At first, I used to be simply thrilled with the lodging,” she mentioned with fun. Cumpston was a vibrant pupil with massive desires who punched her ticket to school with the assistance of the fledgling Pell Grant program.

“I had a perception that this was going to repay sometime,” Cumpston mentioned. “I bear in mind strolling down the steps towards the railroad tracks by Godwin Corridor after my first exams. That was the second after I knew I’d made a sensible choice. I felt I’d discovered extra in a semester at JMU than I had in my whole highschool profession.”

Her selection did repay. After assembly at JMU, Mowen and Cumpston mentioned their Madison Experiences enabled the lives they might construct collectively: superior levels, steady careers and a love of worldwide journey. “We’re proof that schooling is one key to breaking the cycle of poverty,” Cumpston mentioned. 

“And it’s greater than teachers,” Mowen added. “JMU can be the place I obtained publicity to totally different folks from totally different backgrounds. It was a spot to discover myself, and it’s the place I made a decision who I needed to be and the way I needed to see the world.”

For years after the couple graduated, they talked about serving to others in the identical scenario. “We’d get the letters and magazines from JMU, and we at all times thought, ‘You understand, we actually wish to do extra,’” Mowen mentioned. Now, they’ve began a scholarship for first-generation college students from the Appalachian area. “I simply want we’d performed it sooner,” Mowen mentioned. “It’s been extremely rewarding.” 

Investing of their roots – JMU
Alyssa Tomlin (’24)

This 12 months’s recipient, junior Alyssa Tomlin, “positively has the work ethic wanted to stay with this and make change occur,” Cumpston mentioned. Throughout her sophomore 12 months, Tomlin labored 25 hours per week along with commuting greater than an hour for lessons. 

“I’m so grateful to have scholarship assist, and to have met Lori and Sue,” Tomlin mentioned. “They’re such wonderful folks and utterly get the place I’m coming from.” Tomlin’s objectives are just like these of her mentors: to earn a Enterprise diploma and finally journey the world.  

This 12 months, Mowen and Cumpston will go to Antarctica (the final continent they haven’t explored) and start planning a study-abroad scholarship. “Having the ability to assist JMU college students has made us really feel like we’re making a contribution to our international neighborhood,” Mowen mentioned. “We take to coronary heart the problem of Being the Change we wish to see on the planet.”

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Inhabitants Knowledge courtesy of Appalachian Regional Fee.