Alum Sets Up Emergency Fund

Jennifer Scullion (CAS’91) knows how a sudden event can change your financial security. Her new fund helps students in those situations.

| in Alumni, Features, Impact

By: Louise Kennedy

These days, more of us than ever are realizing how events can take a sudden turn and present us with a financial crunch. Jennifer Scullion (CAS’91) has known that all along.

Scullion came to BU as a Trustee Scholar, and she knew she had to make every penny count. She also knew that what might seem like a small problem to another student—suddenly needing to buy an expensive textbook, say, or take an unplanned trip home—could wreck her budget.

“From my own personal experience, when things came up unexpectedly it was particularly problematic,” she says. “I know that kind of pressure.”

That’s why, now that she’s a successful lawyer, Scullion decided to establish the Scullion Fund for Emergency Assistance at the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS). As a former scholarship student herself, she recognizes the value of traditional financial aid, but she also knows it isn’t always enough.

“There’s a lot of stuff for the big picture,” she says, “but it’s these small things that can add a lot
of stress.”

By the same token, even a small amount of support can help relieve that stress. Scullion recounts her partner’s experience when he came to BU as a student himself. “He arrived from Texas with thin clothes, not having any clue. His dean saw that, and the next day he came and gave him sweaters and a winter coat,” she says. “It was incredibly meaningful.”

Scullion hopes that her fund will encourage others to give—even if, like her, they hadn’t stayed in touch with the University for a while after graduating.

“Quite honestly, I had not felt connected with BU,” she says. As the years passed, though, her feelings changed. “I had mellowed,” she says. “I was able to look back and say, ‘I really benefited from my time there and, yeah, it is time to give back.’”

In part that’s because she’s realized that her undergraduate study of poetry has proved surprisingly useful in her career. When she speaks to law students now, she says, “I really encourage them to study poetry.”

“Looking at texts and thinking about multiple contexts at the same time is pretty excellent training for the law,” she explains. “And, for litigation, I just need the nimbleness that an English degree gives me.”

So she’s grateful to BU for that education, and she hopes that her gift will help other students enjoy the same benefits, despite whatever life may throw at them.

“I’m focusing back,” Scullion says, “on what really matters.”

Photo Credit: Allan LEONARD on Flickr