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New Scholarship for Portland-Area Immigrants and Refugees

  • Joann Geddes, Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, and Michael Graham BA ’05.

As an undergraduate student, Michael Graham BA ’05 independently traveled to Rwanda.

When he returned to Portland, he was convinced that Lewis & Clark could do more to help support young people in the African country, so he worked with L&C’s Academic English Studies (AES) program to establish the Dallaire Scholarship. Since 2006, the college has hosted and taught 14 Dallaire Scholars from Rwanda.

The Dallaire Scholarship committee and other members of the L&C community have been consistently inspired by the scholars’ innovative approaches and dedication to compassionate leadership and community rehabilitation. Building off the success and inspiration of the Dallaire Scholars, Joann Geddes (who served as the director of AES for 35 years) proposed a new scholarship in Michael Graham’s name. The scholarship is designed to expand access to AES to young immigrants and refugees in the surrounding areas of Portland.

“As our committee thought about the goals of the Dallaire Scholarship, it occurred to me that such advocacy was also needed in our own backyard,” Geddes says.

Thanks to significant work from Susan Wynne, chair of the scholarship committee, and Laura Shier, director of AES, the committee launched the Michael Graham Scholarship for Refugees and Immigrants in January. They are working with local Wilson High School to welcome its first awardee in fall 2020. “We will work with Portland Public Schools to expand to other high schools in 2021–22,” says Wynne.

—Amelia Eichel BA ’20

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