Summer 2012 was Vera Gomez Piper’s final year leading the Costa Rica Summer Program after having taught at Truman since 1978. The Vera Piper Endowed Scholarship Fund was established to honor her upon her retirement from Truman while perpetuating life-changing study abroad experiences for deserving students. Since its inception in late 2012, this endowment has received gifts and pledges totaling $31,559. Donations have come from alumni, colleagues, community members, family and Spanish honor society Sigma Delta Pi. Lucy Lee, professor of Spanish and Classical and Modern Languages Department chair, and Ruth Bradshaw, assistant professor emerita of English, spearheaded the fundraising effort. This new Foundation fund expands educational opportunities for students by securing new scholarship resources, thereby providing greater access to outside-the-classroom experiences.
This fund also serves as a meaningful and lasting expression of respect for this beloved faculty member and friend. It is an expression of gratitude for the remarkable contributions that Piper has made to Truman and to countless students’ lives. Through education, she has helped eliminate the barriers of language while increasing an understanding of the traditions, history and values of two distinct cultures. Piper has not only built skills, knowledge and confidence among her students, but has built lasting and meaningful relationships between her students, her colleagues and the people of two nations that she now calls home.
“For me personally, it has been exciting because I was able to see students learn so fast and become part of the family and enjoy being in Costa Rica,” Piper said. “It is a great satisfaction because many of them go back to visit their families in Costa Rica.”
The Vera Piper Endowed Scholarship is a reflection of a deep affection and appreciation for this educator who has served as a pioneer in providing study abroad opportunities to Truman students. This scholarship fund will support Piper’s profound legacy in perpetuity. The financial helping hand this award represents offers access to the transformative experience of study abroad.