Remember these students?

Angelica, Ronnie, and William are just three of the students that Berea donors like you have impacted this year. Explore their stories below, and consider making a gift today to make this possible for even more students.

A letter from Angelica

Student Angelica stands in the Carter G. Woodson Center

Hello, my name is Angelica. Thank you for investing in my future. You have given me so many fresh opportunities, and they would not have been possible without your generous gifts.

I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, where I was educated at inner-city public schools. In my senior year in high school I was introduced to Berea College when I won the Carter G. Woodson Legacy award. The prize included the opportunity to attend Diversity Weekend at Berea, which gave me a greater appreciation for the college and the town.

In that same year, my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, my aunt was diagnosed with lung cancer, and my father lost his job. These obstacles could have left me feeling hopeless due to pressure to stay home and care for my family, but my dreams became reality when admissions recruiters introduced us to Berea College. We instantly knew it was my best option.

The opportunity to get a college education without massive student debt has changed my life, and I feel very fortunate to share my story. I am the first of my family to attend college, and as an African-American woman from an urban public school, I didn’t experience much political, cultural, religious, or ethnic diversity. This made me closed-minded to others’ views, but Berea’s diverse student body, staff, and faculty have helped me open my worldview to new outlooks.

In the fall of 2018, I decided to become a double major in African and African-American (AFR) Studies and Political Science with a minor in Business Administration. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. My AFR courses allowed me to learn and appreciate more about my history, about my identity, and about the diversity within the African and African-American diaspora. Moreover, interning at the United Nations and studying abroad in China this summer have given me a better understanding of the needs and challenges many developing countries face.

After graduating from Berea College in December 2019, I will pursue a dual degree in Law and International Relations. This will give me the chance to fight for justice for others on a global scale. I never dreamed of accomplishing so many goals while earning my undergraduate degree, but the entire Berea community—including you—helped equip me with the skills, resources, and opportunities to dream bigger than ever.

Without people like you investing in my future, I would not have gotten this far. One day, I hope to become a philanthropist, to give back to Berea College and the other communities that have supported me throughout my journey. Again, thank you so much for your continued gifts.

Thank you,


Student Ronnie stands beside a brick wall

When Ronnie was just 11 years old, she was diagnosed with a cancer linked to toxins in the creek where she played as a child. And for the next five years, she was forced to watch other family members slowly succumb to cancer.

After her grandmother died, Ronnie was at risk of becoming a ward of the state. Thankfully, a neighbor stepped in to take care of Ronnie and made sure she achieved her dream of becoming the first in her family to go to college.

At Berea, Ronnie learned more about the reality of toxic waste and its link to illnesses, much like the one she had battled as a child. Now she is becoming an urban planner who will implement policies to ensure all children get to safely enjoy playing outdoors.

With my college degree, it feels like the world is wide open now.
I can accomplish what I came here to do.” – Ronnie

Give the gift of education and support bright futures like Ronnie’s.

William '22

William’s devotion to serving others has set him on a path to healing those in need. As a Biochemistry and Pre-Medicine student who plans to attend medical school, he hopes to one day treat cancer patients with skilled and tender care, all in the hopes that he can keep families together as long as possible.

Becoming an oncologist is even more important to William after watching his 64-year-old father battle cancer for over a decade, all while rarely missing a shift at the chemical factory that dominates their eastern Tennessee town. Even during chemotherapy, William’s father worked 12- to 16-hour shifts, six days a week, while his mother ran an online business and raised foster children at home.

Although William’s father’s hard-won wages help keep their household going, his labor doesn’t come without a cost. William says, “I’m used to seeing Dad really worn down. Mom and my sisters, too. Hard work is something you always see around my house; everyone does their fair share. There’s no other option.”

And William is no stranger to his share of labor. By the time he was old enough to get his driver’s license, he was already working more than 40 hours a week at two jobs while still playing varsity soccer, representing his classmates in student government, and maintaining his grades so rigorously that he would become valedictorian of his class. He often sacrificed nights of fun with his friends and squeezed in quality time with his siblings between shifts.

Fortunately, William’s drive and follow-through led him to become the first in his family to attend college. William is able to pursue his passion for serving others as an oncologist because of Berea College and generous donations from friends and alumni like you. William says, “College gives me the skill sets to help make sure families stay together. If I could save one person—that’s the dream—and make my parents proud, to show that their investment in me saved other people’s lives too, not only mine.”

Some mountains are just too high to climb alone. Help students like William. Give today.