The Edward FitzGerald Opportunities Fund

At Berea College, students know they can count on receiving a global education that will help them find their place in the wide world. This includes the 8 percent of the student body who hail from 70 countries other than the United States. One of many adjustments international students must navigate when they arrive in Berea is the temperate climate zone, where many students from tropical or equatorial areas experience frigid winter weather for the first time in their lives.

“We once hosted a student from Tanzania who had never seen a real snowflake,” said Steven Taylor, a local resident whose family has hosted many Berea College international students. “His wardrobe just wasn’t ready for that, but he couldn’t afford a whole new set of winter clothes and boots on his own.”

Luggage size restrictions also severely limit the options for international students who must embark on long flights from their home countries.

“I could only bring two suitcases, and I had to pay a lot for my second one,” said Anupriya ’24, a communication major from a hot, arid region of India, where quality cold-weather clothing was simply unavailable in her market. So, when she arrived in Kentucky in January 2021 to begin her first semester at Berea College, she met the coldest weather she’d ever faced.

South Asian Fusion dance group performing on stage.
Photos by Crystal Wylie ’05

Thankfully, the staff of the Francis and Louise Hutchins Center for International Education (CIE) took Anupriya and her recently arrived classmates shopping for all the winter attire they’d need, at no cost to them. Thanks to the Edward FitzGerald Opportunities Fund, the CIE has been able to purchase seasonal clothing and footwear for international students since 2020, when Chad Aull established the Fund in honor of his late father-in-law, Edward FitzGerald Hon. ’03.

Edward FitzGerald was the father of Berea graduates Marisa FitzGerald Aull ’99 and Eamonn FitzGerald ’03, and he served more than two decades at the College in roles such as international student advisor and head resident for Bingham and Dana residence halls. In these roles, he made a remarkably positive impact on the lives of countless Berea students, and through his namesake fund, his kindness continues to help Berea’s international students like Anupriya when they need it most.

“My father-in-law had the most giving heart,” Chad Aull said. “Our hope is this fund provides the necessities to support international students and show them Berea is much more than just an institution of higher learning but a family—one that takes care of each other.”

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