Paying it forward to support international students
Spending an extended amount of time in a foreign country will most likely change how someone looks at the world and interacts with the people in it. That was definitely the case for Terry Laverty ’70, who lived in Colombia for more than six years while working for ExxonMobil to develop the open-pit coal mine El Cerrejón, at the northern point of South America.
“There were three Colombian Colorado School of Mines graduates on that project, and I got a chance to work with a lot of Colombians,” Laverty remembered. “We made a lot of business and personal friends and had the opportunity to travel in the country and learn more about Colombia and South America.”
While living there, Laverty’s young children went to a bilingual school and learned about the customs and traditions of their host country. Laverty himself was able to brush up on his Spanish and got a different perspective of the United States.
After that lengthy stay in Colombia and taking many other business trips to Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Panama, Mexico, Russia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Ukraine and England, Laverty was interested in helping international students who wanted to attend Mines. In 2014, he teamed up with two fellow Mines alumni, Dan Evans ’69 and John McDonough ’69, to create the Emerging Countries Undergraduate Scholarship, which is awarded to Mines students from emerging countries and regions around the globe.
“A lot of foreign students—undergraduate students—may get support from a company within their country for tuition and fees, but they don’t have money for food, housing, computers,” Laverty explained. Thanks to Laverty’s generosity and that of 12 other Mines alumni, scholarship recipients are given a one-time award of $5,000 to use at their discretion as a supplement.
“We’ve seen some of the positive aspects of technical people in these countries,” Laverty said. “Our hope is that the students return home and apply those technical skills they’ve learned at Mines to improve their own country.”
“It has been two years since I started working back in my home country of Malaysia. However, never will I forget the honor of receiving the Emerging Countries Scholarship during my senior year at Mines, knowing that there are people out there who really care about my education and my career path. The scholarship had really motivated me to finish my senior year well.”