Marks Scholarship


Mary-Marks-Family Photo

Mary Marks’s speech to Flagship students: “Pay it Forward”

Many of us hear that phrase and don't necessarily understand the true meaning. My husband Alan and I came from families of very modest means. I was one of nine children, and there were many days when we barely had enough to get by. Although I remember sometimes not having a nickel for milk at lunchtime, I never felt unloved or deprived. Hard work and motivation to succeed paid off.

There are people in your life who, by their kindness, change everything. When I was in college, my friend’s dad gave me a car after mine, which I had worked hard and saved so long for, had been stolen. I used that car to continue my path to college graduation. He was one of those people who gave from his heart, not wanting anything in return other than to see someone else succeed.

I am here today to pay it forward. Last summer Professor Chao and I discussed the fact that many Flagship students face financial challenges that makes it difficult to reach their goals of studying abroad. Alan and I decided that we wanted to help students in this program achieve their dreams, and so here I am.

There are three people who have inspired us to donate scholarships to Flagship. When you believe in something, it is easy to support that cause.

Professor Chao is a leader that you are so fortunate to have. I have watched her over the past few years expand and improve the program to the best of her ability because she is passionate about Flagship and your success. You will learn how exceptional your education is here, especially when you meet others in similar programs.

Hu Laoshi is passionate, hardworking and plays a pivotal role in the success of the Flagship program. I have witnessed firsthand her exceptional teaching abilities. I also am well aware of the vital supporting role she plays in the success of this program.

And then there is Hao Laoshi. My daughter Stacey, who many of you know is currently completing her Capstone year, shared a simple and yet profound perception with me last year. “Mom” she said, “Hao is THE BEST Teacher that I have ever had.” Hao Laoshi, there is no greater honor than having your students utter those words. Thank you.

To each of the scholarship recipients, I have one request: that is to enjoy your Capstone year. Work hard, make friends, and soak in the language and culture. These are experiences that most people will never have. Talk to other students who have attended the program and get their input, learn from their successes and mistakes.

Years from now, when each of you is successful in your chosen career path, I only hope you will remember to “pay it forward.” Thank you.


Thank You

Thank You by Guo Zhen Wang

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