Simon Cottrell Scholarship Awarded to UST Students
2007 Simon Cottrell International Studies Annual Scholarship winners Claudia Valadez and Nancy Velasquez got the chance to share stories of their summer abroad with the person who helped to make the trips possible, Stella Cottrell.
“I am really happy I went. It was a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Nancy Velasquez, a UST senior working on a triple major in international studies, Spanish and French.
“The Simon Cottrell Scholarship helped me to put to use all that I had learned in the classroom,” said Claudia Valadez, a 2007 UST international studies graduate.
Cottrell is helping to keep the memory of her late husband alive through the study abroad program at the University of St. Thomas. Simon Cottrell was the Vice Consul for Trade at the French Consulate General in Houston. In 2004, she established the Simon Cottrell International Studies Annual Scholarship to honor her husband’s strong commitment to education.
“The Center for International Studies seemed like the ideal place to share my husband’s legacy,” said Cottrell, a UST Heritage Club member. The Heritage Club was created to recognize future-minded individuals who have made planned gifts to the University.
The scholarship assists students pursuing their Bachelor of Arts degree in international studies who choose Europe as a destination in fulfilling their study abroad requirements. Each year since 2004, Cottrell has met with the scholarship winners at a luncheon.
“I feel so very humble that they should be so grateful,” Cottrell said. “I’m so happy to see the enthusiasm about their trip.”
Valadez studied in Ireland during the summer and visited the Aran Islands, Croke Park in Dublin and the Irish Parliament. Velasquez studied abroad in Lyon, France. Both credit Cottrell for making their overseas experiences possible.
“Mrs. Cottrell was like my fairy godmother,” Valadez said. “She made it possible for me to go to the ‘ball’ which in this case was the Irish study abroad trip. This is one of the best gifts anyone can give.”
“The scholarship helped to pay for the trip," Velasquez said. "I was thinking about cancelling the trip because I wasn’t able to finance it, but then Dr. Wensjoe informed me that I had received the scholarship, it was so significant that I was able to go.”
Student participation in study aboard programs at UST has resulted in a top 20 ranking for universities of our type by the Institute of International Education’s Open Doors reports. This past year, UST group programs included winter courses taught in London and Argentina, as well as, summer programs in France, Ireland, Mexico and China.
Standing from left to right: Nancy Velasquez, Dr. Wensjoe, Claudia Valadez. Seated from left to right: Diana Garcia, Stella Cottrell and Diane Thornton.