Elon celebrates Furman and Susan Moseley on 10th anniversary of Susan Scholarships
Furman Moseley '56 created the Odyssey Program scholarships for women with outstanding promise in 2007 to honor his wife, Susan. The university awards four Susan Scholarships each year.
Members of the Elon community gathered in the Snow Family Grand Atrium on Saturday morning to learn of the impressive accomplishments of the university's Susan Scholars while honoring Furman and Susan Moseley, the steadfast Elon supporters who created the Susan Scholarship a decade ago.
The Nov. 4 celebration of the 10th anniversary of this Odyssey Program scholarship, endowed by Furman Moseley '56 in honor of his wife, showcased its impact on the lives of the women who have received it. For current students and alumnae, the Susan Scholarship has played a critical role in making an Elon education attainable, with its recipients becoming academic leaders on campus, and distinguished leaders in a wide range of professions.
"It's the mark of a great man and his selflessness that he wanted to create an opportunity for young women to come to his alma mater and get an extraordinary education," President Leo M. Lambert said of Moseley. "You are one of the most extraordinary human beings I have ever met. Your generosity has made a difference in these students' lives and the lives of alumni who gather back here today."
Since it's creation in 2007, the Susan Scholarship has been awarded to 41 Elon students, with four incoming female students selected each year. The scholarship is part of the broader Odyssey Program, a highly selective program for students with exceptional ability and promise who have high financial need and are often the first in their families to attend college.
"What we've seen here today is the undeniable impact made possible by the education of Elon women in a sisterhood of scholars known as Susan," said Jean Rattigan-Rohr, executive director of community partnerships and director of the Center for Access and Success, which includes the Odyssey Program. "Clearly these young women have already started to impact the world in incredibly positive ways, and just think — they've only just begun."
Among those was Nicole Morillo '12, a native of Queens, New York, and one of the first Susan Scholars. Growing up in a single-parent home, college and Elon had seemed out of reach, and she said she felt stuck in the New York City borough. "Although I had the grades and although I had the passion and the desire and the dream and the hope, we just did not have the money," Morillo said. "My dream could have dried up, and my story could have ended there."
Instead, she learned of the Odyssey Program at Elon and the Susan Scholarship, which made attending Elon a possibility. Through the wide range of support the Odyssey Program offers, Morillo said she saw Elon become a place she knew she belonged. She was selected as one of the first interns in the university's Executive Internship Program and helped form the first organization for Latino students on campus. She developed a passion for helping other young students obtain the tools they need to succeed in college, and is now in her sixth year as a teacher in a private school for parents from single-parent homes.
"You gave a young woman from Queens, New York, the privilege of attending an amazing institution," Morillo said about the Moseleys. "Elon taught me so much about community, about mutual support, about love and the power of passion and hard work. I am blessed enough to be able to stand in front of my students, and my own child, and teach them the same things."
Telling her own story, Jennifer Sigua '18, said the Susan Scholarship offered her a path to Elon, and provided the support network from fellow students, faculty and staff that she has leaned on throughout her time here. The scholarship allowed her to study abroad in Australia and participate in a medical brigade to Nicaragua, an experience that helped her develop a passion for health care. Now heading toward commencement in May, she plans to pursue a dual-degree program to obtain a master's in physician assistant studies and master's in healthcare administration, with the long-term goal of opening a medical center abroad.
"Not only was the Odyssey Program giving me a support system and a home away from home, but it also gave me access to academic experiences, experiences that I probably would not have encountered had I not come to Elon," Sigua said. "Receiving my scholarship has given me the flexibility to figure out what I am passionate about, and what I want to accomplish, through experiences like studying abroad and a medical bridgade trip."
What would become the Susan Scholarships program began about 12 years ago as a dream, Lambert said, with Moseley stepping forward to establish a scholarship program for talented students with great financial need. Lambert said Moseley urged Elon to take the whole person into account, not just numbers like GPAs and college entrance exam scores, when selecting those who would receive the scholarship.
"His challenge was to look beyond those numbers and to look at the spark and potential — to look for women who we knew, through getting to know our student applicants, are people who would make an extraordinary difference in the world, and I think we've done that," Lambert said.
A group of Susan Scholars presented Moseley with a handcrafted box filled with letters similarly attesting to the impact that the generosity of the couple has had on their lives, with those notes telling the stories of how these students arrived at Elon, and what the future holds for them, thanks to the help the Moseleys have provided.
Calling the event "a distinct honor," Moseley paid tribute to his wife, who was unable to attend Saturday's event, in offering his appreciation for the thoughts and comments from those who spoke of how the scholarship has touched their lives. He noted that it was in 1958 through a chance encounter a beach in California, that he met the woman whose name the scholarship carries, a woman who would become his wife and change his life forever.
"The randomness of chance is a wonderful life force that adds verve and unknowing quality to life, and makes it interesting," Moseley said. "I am delighted to hear that Susan is the force she is in your lives, because she is an extraordinary person and would delight to know that she has been a constructive force in part in your young developing lives."