International students are finding that a surprisingly large donation made by Harold R. Rowe is making their education at Frostburg State University more financially comfortable this semester.
The generous donation, and largest cash amount ever given to FSU, was a result of a friendly correspondence between Harold Rowe and the University's President, Dr. Catherine Gira, lasting four years. Rowe was originally from the Frostburg area, but he never attended Frostburg State. When he passed away at his residence in Hawaii, he had willed a small fortune to FSU to be used for furthering the education of international students.
The $727,218 from Rowe's estate, after his death in 1998, developed into the Harold R. Rowe Scholarship. This fall marks the second semester the scholarship has been awarded.
The Rowe scholarship is lending its assistance to six students this semester. Students from Kenya, Germany, Iraq, Greece and Zambia are taking full advantage of the extra funds available.
Eligibility for the Rowe scholarship includes any non-immigrant, degree-seeking student who is an undergraduate or graduate incoming to Frostburg State or has already completed one year at the campus.
Though it was not designed to be disbursed equally, currently three men and three women are the recipients of the Rowe funds.
"It was nothing we had preplanned. Those were just the most-qualified individuals," said Thomas Carr, International Center Coordinator.
The International Education Council, which is composed of administration, faculty and students, decides who is the most qualified. The committee considers each applicant's level of need based on national and/or family economic situations and reviews the essays that states the prospective recipient's purpose and goals.
For Mwape Mumbi, the eighth of ten children in his family, the Rowe scholarship may not have been a deciding factor in his coming to FSU, but it has been a help. Mumbi worked at the International Bank in Zambia, Africa, for nine years before moving to the United States to start his freshman year at Frostburg.
"It has a private college feel with the cost of a public school," said Mumbi.
The Rowe scholarship is awarded in increments of $1,000, with the maximum $3,000 per year. The amount varies on the students' needs and how many applicants the office receives.
Rowa Jassem, whose parents live in Tunisia, has a graduate assistantship in addition to the scholarship. Since the international students are unable to work in the United States, other means of support needs to be available.
"I would have felt horrible having to ask my mother for money," said Jassem, who is working toward her Masters in Computer Science.
The Harold R. Rowe International Student Fund earmarks emergency funds for its recipients and other non-degree seeking exchange students. The committee sets aside $1,000 to $3,000 for students who have unexpected financial losses and cannot afford books or experience unexpected medical problems.
Though most of the International students were not prepared for the cold weather of Frostburg, they still had a positive outlook. Students highlighted aspects of Frostburg such as the hands-on learning experiences, the ideal environment for intense study and the convenience of the area.
"In the five months I have been here, I have enjoyed the convenience of the bus system, the 24-hour supermarkets, and being able to see movies in the campus' Lane Center," said Mumbi.
Harold Rowe saw the need for international students to be able to enjoy the United States and Frostburg State University. Though he was not an alum, or had even seen his hometown for 60 years, his donation helped to enhance the education of others at FSU.
"It was wonderful to know the background of Mr. Rowe," stated Mumbi. "I want everyone to see the underlying humanity of Mr. Rowe."
Not only do the funds enrich the lives of international students, but it creates a more well-rounded environment for those already studying here, according to Jassem. "If you have students from different cultures, it changes the other students' perspectives," she said.
FSU faculty and staff are impressed with Rowe's enormous generosity. "I'm in awe of the fact that we have these funds to offer," said Carr. "They really help some great students."
For further information on this release, contact:
Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD 21532-2303