by Sara Curnow Wilson

Financing a college education can be difficult, something Elyse Ruth (CLA ’71) knows firsthand.

When Ruth was a junior at Temple in 1969, she studied abroad at the London School of Economics. Because no financial aid was available, she had to find alternate means of funding her studies, including a job in the college pub as a barmaid. 

Her wages? One pound. Or $2.40.

“Not per hour. That was the entire shift. One pound,” she laughs.

Despite any financial difficulties, Ruth looks back on her time abroad as one of the most exciting parts of her education. She still remembers receiving her letter of admission from the London School of Economics.

“When I got the letter saying I’d been accepted, oh, I was flying,” she says.

Thanks to Ruth’s giving, some future Temple students will have a similar feeling. She has established an endowed scholarship, covering not just one year but all tuition costs for selected students. To be eligible, students must have not studied formally for at least seven years.

“I really want to help the older person,” Ruth says. “If it will get them to select Temple rather than someplace else, that’s terrific.”

Ruth could have used the scholarship herself. She struggled to fund her education at home as well as abroad. When she started at Temple a few years after graduating from high school, she found that she was ineligible for most scholarships. She turned down no opportunities, taking loans and holding jobs so that she could go to school full time.

Ideally, she explains, her donation will not only help others receive a college degree but also put them in the position to donate as well.

“The more people I can help, the better. I hope that it will sort of cascade and everybody who I help will in turn want to help Temple.”

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