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The gift of travel: Retired longtime faculty members create study abroad scholarship

By Kim White ‘08

College of Liberal Arts faculty invest their time, effort, and knowledge to conduct innovative research, mentor graduate students, and teach exciting classes. But some faculty members take it a step further with a literal investment in the college and our students.

Paul Parrish joined the English faculty at Texas A&M University in 1974, while his wife, Linda ’78, started teaching in the College of Education and Human Development in 1978. When Linda retired from teaching in 2006, Paul established a scholarship in his wife’s name to benefit students in the College of Education and Human Development studying special education–Linda’s specialty.

“That was probably the seed that led us to get involved when Paul retired in a college that we both loved–the College of Liberal Arts,” Linda said.

When Paul joined his wife in retirement in 2011, the pair created an endowed scholarship to support English majors participating in an international experience. The couple said they hope the Linda H. and Paul A. Parrish Endowed Scholarship for International Study will encourage students to travel often to expand their understanding of the world and become increasingly comfortable in other countries, both during their time at Texas A&M and beyond.

Throughout their distinguished careers at Texas A&M, the Parrishes made significant contributions to the university and the community. Both Paul and Linda served as administrators in their respective colleges and in the faculty senate, and both were honored with the title of Regents Professors for their exemplary service. Having held leadership roles at Texas A&M and watched their two sons spend extensive time abroad both as students and after graduation, the Parrishes know firsthand the positive impact of international experiences.

“These students learn in ways that they could not entirely learn were they not in other countries,” Paul said. “I also think it has a very powerful effect on them as individuals.”

The College of Liberal Arts is a leader in sending Aggies abroad, and scholarships play a critical role in encouraging students to participate in a program. In addition to the benefit for Liberal Arts students, Linda said she hopes the scholarship helps enhance Texas A&M’s reputation as a global university.

The Parrishes said they have always believed in the value of getting involved and giving back, and have supported or served a variety of organizations in the Bryan-College Station community, especially in music and the arts. The couple are also strong advocates of the importance and benefits of liberal education.

“I believe the liberal arts give students broad insight into multiple disciplines, into critical thinking, into the value of taking on questions that may not have obvious answers, and provide the tools to take on life beyond the college and the university,” Paul said.

Simply put, “The liberal arts prepare you for anything you want to do,” Linda said.

For more information on how you can impact students and faculty in your preferred area in the College of Liberal Arts, please contact Larry J. Walker II.

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