International Studies and Philosophy double-major Leslie (Les) Murray has been the recipient of numerous scholarships in various departments across SIU. Recently he was awarded the Madeleine Smith Scholarship, a fund designed to help those studying foreign language (particularly French), although it can also be awarded to International Studies and FLIT scholars. Les was inspired to study foreign language by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien was well known both for his narrative talents as well as his attention to linguistic detail, as evidenced by the languages he created to give depth to the characters he developed.
While discussing his interests Les shared his experience of coming across the scholarship. “I noticed that the information was posted on the walls in the hallways. Once I had seen that these scholarships were available I went on the university website to look at what was available for me. If I could get even a 10% discount on my education then it would definitely be worth throwing my name in the hat. Aristotle might have put it, if you think you deserve it then you probably do. I thought I deserved it, so I threw my name in the hat.” His efforts have certainly paid off, as he currently has over a half-dozen scholarships, which help him to support himself and his family while he pursues higher education.
Les’s experience provides keen insight into the process of applying for scholarships. His hard work has certainly borne fruit, but he admits that it was not terribly difficult to apply. “Most of them required a form, and a particular essay explaining why you felt you were eligible, why you as opposed to any other deserved the award. Even a hundred dollar scholarship is nice. It is going to help me in the end. I didn’t even think, during my first year, that any scholarships were available to me. Dr. Hahn [a philosophy professor] helped me identify opportunities immediately.”
After graduation Mr. Murray plans on attending graduate school.