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Words of Faith

The Thumper Theory

July 4, 2018

Today, I invoke the Thumper Theory as a way of marking Independence Day.

I am at an unprecedented loss for things to say that will celebrate the United States of America. Though this is my 57th Fourth of July, I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced the tenets of democracy, human rights, freedom, and liberty more threatened.


June 21, 2018

Believe it or not, sometimes I run out of words. That is why there has been a gap in blogposts. Almost always, it helps me to stop and to listen. I’m hoping you’ll join me in reading (and thus, hearing) three of our new students* explain how they approach their higher education. I promise it will be worth your time and will quicken your heart.

- Faith Sandler

Repaid in Full: Miles Walz-Salvador

May 22, 2018

Congratulations to Miles Walz-Salvador for reaching the milestone of repaying his Scholarship Foundation loan! In 1920, the origin of The Scholarship Foundation was the interest-free loan. Today, the tradition is strong in the lives of graduates like Miles. Here’s what he has to say about the value of the loan:

Disband "Decision Day"

May 4, 2018

Last year the Words of Faith blog was launched and a May Day post denounced the arbitrary but growing trend of declaring it “Decision Day”.

For Learning’s Sake: The Purpose of Higher Education

April 23, 2018

Some questions inspire startlingly simple answers. My grandfather had euphemisms at the ready for self-evident questions: “Is fat meat greasy?”, “Is the Pope Catholic?”, “Does a bear sh*t in the woods?”. Here are two from our work at The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis:

Q. What do low-income students need?
A. Money

Food for Thought: Why Hunger Haunts So Many College Students

April 4, 2018

On April 3, the Washington Post published the recent release of data documenting hunger and other basic needs unmet among college students. The piece cited several surveys, but focused on the largest to date. The full study report can be found here: 

What is Good

March 29, 2018

I’m reminding you to remind me to look for the good. It is still there and may be shining even brighter on these dark days.

In more ways than I can (or should) mention here, this has been a long and difficult winter. Among the coinciding forces of national news, state budget crises, terrible tragedy and toxic stress in the lives of people close to us, and a seasonal absence of sunlight, it’s possible to lose track. The more you look, the bleaker it can seem.

IS COLLEGE WORTH IT?: A Continued Discussion

March 13, 2018

We have work to do. Political processes at the state and federal level are quickly bankrupting and privatizing higher education. Colleges are competing to enroll as many students who can pay as much of the bill as possible; willingly or not, this practice is shifting our understanding of education from societal and common good to market-based commodity.

Last month, “College Isn’t For Everyone” was the somewhat surprising headline of a Words of Faith blogpost. I heard from quite a few of you:

AN INESTIMABLE GIFT: Kim Abel Retires, Leaving the Lights On

March 2, 2018

It’s ironic that I can neither calculate nor estimate the value of the gifts that Kim Abel has given in her 17 years as Deputy Director of The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, as she has been the chief accountant and spreadsheet creator for so very long. This week, Kim tries something completely new; she retires to care for herself and her family. When she gets in her car to drive away on March 2, we will all miss her more than we can now know.