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Gift eases burden for VisCom students from Asia

Nov 16, 2007

Gift eases burden for VisCom students from Asia

Working to cover living expenses while working toward a degree can present challenges for any student. For Xin Liu, who earned a master's degree in 1996 from the School of Visual Communication, the experience prompted a desire to help others facing similar situations.

The Enlight Foundation, a California nonprofit directed by Liu and her husband, Yong Ping Duan, has contributed $550,000 to VisCom to create an endowment to support students from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan who study photojournalism at Ohio University.

"This is something I am able to do to give back so that I can show my appreciation to Ohio University and VisCom," said Liu, who received a full scholarship and finished the master's program in photojournalism in just one year despite working 20 hours a week to cover expenses. "I remember how stressed and demanding the coursework was.

"I'm trying to help students make ends meet to give them more time to focus on their studies, socialize with their American friends and learn more about the culture," she added. "I wish I had had the luxury to do that."

The fund provides two scholarships: the Enlight Foundation Visual Communication Scholarship for an undergraduate or graduate student and the Enlight Foundation Visual Communication Fellowship for a graduate student. Each of the awards is renewable and provides living stipends and assistance for the purchase of materials and equipment for a student who already has been awarded a full scholarship to study within VisCom.

This year's scholarship recipient is Xiaomei Chen, while Yilei "Nicole" Cheng earned the fellowship.

"With this fellowship, I can have the chance to learn without worrying too much about the financial part of it," Cheng said. "This program is fabulous. I feel very happy to be in this program with the help of this fellowship."

VisCom Director Terry Eiler is grateful for the Enlight Foundation's support of the program.

"I fondly remember Xin Liu as a dedicated and skilled student," he said. "Her foundation's generous gift will elevate Asian students in the program and VisCom as a whole to even greater heights."

Liu said the Enlight Foundation's main focus is on higher education, both in the United States and China, and she hopes more students from China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan apply to the School of Visual Communication.

"There are more and more talented people from China coming to the United States to study," Liu said. "VisCom is such an excellent program that I hope they can attract even more talent from throughout Asia."