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Words of Faith

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.

"College Isn't for Everyone"

February 12, 2018

We’re engaged in a debate about the worth of human beings, but afraid to call it that.

Have you heard these phrases, or maybe even said them yourself?

BRAGGING RIGHTS: What we do works!

January 23, 2018

First, click on the image below and tell me what you see!

Just in case charts and graphs and data aren’t your thing, let me summarize in words:

2017: An Extraordinary Year

December 29, 2017

These have been challenging weeks. I had not planned a year-end blogpost, thinking I had little constructive to say about the way the world is treating our students. Then, yesterday, I received an email from Barb Touchette, President of The Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors (pictured at center of photo, during a board meeting discussion). 


December 19, 2017

I ask that you TODAY demand that Congress:

Food for Thought

December 12, 2017

It does not take much to imagine what it is like to try to study or sit in class if you are chronically hungry or malnourished. While some of us may joke that students are always “starving”, the issue of chronic or episodic hunger among college students is now significant, and not at all funny.