Brawn Family Foundation gift to sponsor U of L student in Semester at Sea program

University of Lethbridge students will have the opportunity to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to the generosity of the Brawn Family Foundation and the Semester at Sea program.

Kelley Buckley, left, and her parents Carole and Robert Brawn, announced the Brawn Family Foundation gift to the University of Lethbridge.

Each year, the Brawn Family Foundation will provide a scholarship for one U of L student to take part in Semester at Sea. Established in 1963, Semester at Sea consists of 100-to-110-day international passenger ship voyages where students visit up to 15 countries in one semester. They learn from leading faculty and international experts, engage in hands-on field experiences and service projects at each destination and earn academic credit.

“The whole goal of our foundation is to give back and create a bigger, better community,” says Kelley Buckley (BA ’84), one of Dr. Robert Brawn’s (LLD ’16) daughters and director of the Brawn Family Foundation. “My father realized what a powerful program Semester at Sea was. Both of my kids, my sister’s kids, my sister and I have all sailed and he just felt it made a dramatic difference in our lives. As well, since four of our family are U of L alums, this was a great way to combine two programs that have impacted our lives.”

Each year, more than 2,000 participants circumnavigate the globe aboard the MV World Odyssey. Sponsored by Colorado State University, the program champions a global comparative experiential learning model as it connects students to world challenges and fosters global awareness through profound international learning experiences.

For Buckley, the experience was transformative, and she attests that each family member who subsequently went to sea was similarly influenced.

“You realize how small the world really is and how impactful your footprint can be in the big picture,” she says. “It’s changed all of our lives and we just feel that everyone needs an opportunity to go outside their comfort zone and look at the big global picture and see how small the world actually is. Everything you do can make a difference.”

She describes the ripple effect of a Semester at Sea education.

“Just one student sailing and then coming back can change a handful of students at the University and then they change another handful and it just grows from there,” she says.

The Brawn Family Foundation scholarship will be available to students across all disciplines at the University. Eligible participants must be a second-year undergraduate student, a Canadian resident or permanent resident and have been accepted to participate by Semester at Sea. Applicants must have successfully completed 10 courses with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and will be required to answer essay questions for consideration, focusing on how they expect their voyage will impact their education and how the experience will be translated and promoted on campus upon their return.

Paul Pan, executive director International at the U of L, says the goals and mission of the Semester at Sea program align with the University’s internationalization strategy which encompasses liberal arts ideals and the strategic direction of graduating global citizens.

“The University of Lethbridge is committed to the internationalization of our campus,” he says. “Providing our students with educational abroad experiences such as the Semester at Sea program is vital in providing our graduates with global perspectives, international and intercultural skills and knowledge to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world.”

U of L students can now apply to be the first successful U of L Brawn Family Foundation scholarship candidate to sail with Semester at Sea. Contact the International Office at 403-329-2053 for more information.