AHS Scholarship Foundation marks 15 years of study abroad

Published 7:30 am Thursday, September 28, 2023

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Since its founding in 1993 by the Class of 1948, the Andalusia High School Scholarship Foundation (AHSSF) has awarded four-year college scholarships to 26 Andalusia High School graduates. Aubree Caldwell, an Auburn University freshman, and Aiden Vines, a freshman at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, are the most recent recipients of the Foundation’s four-year scholarships.

In 2008, the Foundation expanded its academic support to AHS graduates by beginning an International Study Program (ISP). ISP provides fellowships to outstanding AHS graduates who are currently undergraduate college students and desire to participate in a university-based summer study abroad program.

The initial leadership and financial support for ISP was provided by the late Murray Findley of the AHS Class of 1948 and a founding Trustee of the AHSSF. Findley, a prominent global textile executive, began attending the University of Cambridge International Sumer Program in 1986 and subsequently received a master’s degree from Cambridge in international relations.

Over the past 15 years, 20 AHS graduates have received these summer study abroad fellowships. Most fellowship recipients have chosen to study at the University of Cambridge in England. Exa Johnston Skinner, AHS Class of 2004, was the first recipient of the ISP. After attending the Cambridge International Summer Program, Exa graduated from the University of Alabama and is currently the Deputy Director of the Kentuck Art Center and Festival in Tuscaloosa. The second recipient, Anna Williams Copeland, an Auburn University graduate, is currently employed by PowerSouth as a lead engineer and also serves as Co-Chair of the Foundation’s Scholarship Committee.

The most recent fellowship recipient is Ava Ramsden, AHS Class of 2020, a senior at the University of Alabama.

This summer, Foundation President Harvey “Pete” Donaldson was an invited guest at the Cambridge International Study Program. During his weeklong residence on the Cambridge campus, he audited an international relations class, “World Order Under Stress,” taught by Sir Tony Brenton, retired British Ambassador to Russia. Donaldson ate dinner each night in the Queens College “Old Hall” dining room, a venue steeped in history dating back to 1448.

In his meetings with Program Director Sarah Ormrod and Ava Ramsden, Donaldson learned first-hand about the Cambridge program’s academic excellence and global engagement. In reflecting on his trip, Donaldson said, “I look forward to reporting back to the Foundation Board about my brief Cambridge experience. My trip strengthened my commitment to our International Study Program. I believe that the opportunity to live and study on the University of Cambridge campus has provided all our Foundation Fellows with academic and cultural knowledge that will greatly benefit them when they return to the Andalusia community or wherever their careers may take them.”