Illustration by Andrea Nebhut
After their son’s passing early last year, members of the Foye family expressed their desire to start a scholarship fund in his honor, and this goal is now becoming a reality. The Robert Lawrence Foye Memorial Scholarship Fund will come into effect and use starting in the Fall 2019 semester.
Robert Lawrence Foye Jr. passed away last spring due to an overdose of nitrous oxide, according to his father, Robert Foye Sr. He was a sophomore at the time.
Though they were faced with grief, the Foye family quickly began to develop a foundation to raise money for a scholarship fund in Foye Jr.’s memory.
“We focused on making people aware — aware of Robert’s life and the incredible personality he had and what a great place Trinity was,” Foye Sr. said.
As of now, the Foye family has collected $56,000 from over 100 donors and also have themselves donated $44,000 to bring the sum total to $100,000. They plan to collect more in the future.
On Thursday, Feb. 14 at President Anderson’s Board of Trustee’s lunch, Foye Sr. presented the $100,000 check to Anderson to celebrate the creation of this scholarship.
With this total, the university was able to begin the financial process for establishing the scholarship and work on making it available to potential recipients as soon as possible.
“Having a quick turnaround allows people who knew Robert at his age to also see the benefits. These first recipients will also be in the atmosphere of people who knew Robert, so we like that,” said Laura Kristianna Schmitt-Foye, Foye Jr.’s mother.
Christina Pikla, director of financial aid in Student Financial Services, added that this type of scholarship is not uncommon and is established for any number of reasons.She also explained Trinity’s requirements and procedures for starting the scholarship.
“The family made the decision to basically form a contractual agreement with Trinity that they wanted to establish a scholarship that is in the namesake of their son. The scholarship is intended to be a permanently endowed fund,” Pikla said.
In order for a new scholarship to be considered for establishment at Trinity, the endowment has to reach a $100,000 minimum. Once this amount is reached, the university invests that money and uses the interest created from this investment to support financial aid for students each academic year.
According to Pikla, roughly 90 percent of this 2018–2019 academic year’s student body is receiving some type of institutional assistance. This includes both merit and need-based funds and adds up to just under $60,000,000.
“What’s exciting about [the Foye scholarship] is that there’s definitely a need. There’s a need for endowed scholarship funds to allow the university to continue to be able to provide those dollars to deserving students,” Pikla said.
Donors like the Foye family are also able to specify certain criteria and restrictions in terms of who gets to benefit from this fund. The type of student who would receive support from the Foye scholarship would be eligible for both merit and need-based funds.
“Specifically with the Foye Scholarship, there’s a preference for a student who would be a need-based student to help students who otherwise would not be able to be at Trinity if it were not for the support that they’re able to get,” Pikla said.
The Foye family would like the scholarship to benefit students who are passionate as well as globally and culturally understanding like their son was.
“Hopefully, the people who apply for the scholarship have industriousness, and they’re really eager and want to better themselves; I think that’s important,” Foye Sr. said. “With the fund, we just want to give people that little extra help paying for a great education at Trinity. And along with that remembering his name, remembering the kind of person he was — he was multicultural, he had grown up 18 years overseas in many different countries [and cities like China, Indonesia, London, Hong Kong], he was very curious and loved basketball.”
The Foye family sent a letter in gratitude to donors. In this letter, they included a summary of Robert Lawrence Foye Jr.’s life, which will be given to applicants of the scholarship and includes a description of his personality, his goals and his diverse interests. According to his parents, Foye Jr. was a fun-loving person who always took an interest in people and had an open mind in regard to all cultures. He was a joyful student and a great older brother.
“Robert really had a strong influence on people in his life, and having the scholarship allows him to continue to influence people,” Schmitt-Foye said.
Due to the circumstances of Foye Jr.’s passing, his father also hopes that the scholarship can serve as a reminder to students to be mindful of their safety.
“We’re trying to, as much as possible, make students aware that risky behavior can sometimes lead to these kinds of consequences even though the intention isn’t that,” Foye Sr. said. “You’re trying to relax and have a little bit of fun thinking something is safe and it’s not … I think that’s a message we have to get out.”
The Foye family also encourages anyone who is interested to continue to donate to the foundation at: http://www.paypal.me/robertlawrencefoye.