ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Hardin-Simmons University President Eric Bruntmyer was on vacation in Israel when he discovered that he was being called to help young adults in need.
“I was jogging by the sea of Galilee, there was a little rocky beach and God told me to pick up some stones, and so I start thinking ok I’ve got five kids, I’ll pick up some souvenirs,” said Bruntmyer. “Then it hit me if the five represented my kids I could have picked up a lot more.”
Years later and now President at Hardin-Simmons, he could finally put his ideas into action.
“I started thinking about what we do at the university. These students are coming out of foster care, orphanages or bad situations,” said Bruntmyer. “We at Hardin-Simmons always talk about how we’re family, why can’t we be that forever family?”
With the help of the Board of Trustees and facility members, the university rolled out a program to help unaccompanied students. Each year admissions would choose 12 students who are on their own to receive a full ride.
“Situations that young people live in, they don’t get a choice and it doesn’t have to stay this way,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management Vicki House. “That’s what we’re hoping is to help these students see there are people out there willing to say ‘I can help with the tuition.'”
“The need is great, not just in Texas but all around the world, people are dying to be educated,” said Bruntmyer.
With the help of donors, Hardin-Simmons University can provide free education for at least a dozen students in hopes to make a difference in their lives.
This program is not something students apply for. They are selected by a board based on their financial situations.