Saint Leo Undergraduate Lands $30,000 Scholarship

December 10, 2008

For the first time, a Saint Leo University student has been awarded an academic scholarship for undergraduate study by the Organization of American States.

Lesvie Clare, a 20-year-old junior from the Bahamas, has been selected for a $30,000 scholarship by the international development consortium. The scholarship may also be renewed for her senior year, as long as funds remain available and Clare continues her strong academic performance. She is pursuing dual majors from the School of Business in international hospitality and tourism and in marketing.

The scholarship will assist with tuition and expenses.

"It covers everything," she said. "Now I can do the traveling I want to do and learn the languages I’ve wanted to learn." Clare began studying Spanish at community college in the Bahamas, where she studied before transferring to Saint Leo at the main campus. Now she wants to improve her fluency and perhaps even land an internship in a Spanish-speaking environment. She also wants to learn French and Chinese.

Clare’s scholarship is "phenomenal news and well-earned," said Professor Stephen Baglione, who teaches marketing. "She does well in class and carries 18 credits a semester."

Eventually, Clare wants to work in tourism in the Bahamas, which happens to be a condition of the scholarship. She said she wants tourists to come to appreciate the cultural riches of the Bahamas – beyond the scenery, the sun and the sand.

That goal is supported by Associate Professor Stan McGahey, who is both Clare’s adviser and director of SLU’s International Hospitality and Tourism Management Program.

"Culture is unique to a country. I don’t feel it can be mass-merchandised," McGahey said. But countries and regions that successfully and intelligently promote their cultural resources - whether those resources are historic, ecological, linguistic, artistic or religious – can build their economies in sustainable ways, he explained.

Clare also expressed her gratitude to Baglione and McGahey for their academic guidance and references, as well as to financial aid coordinator Janis Lockhart for her assistance, and to Professors Robert Imperato (religion) and Jack McTague (history) for providing her with additional recommendations that helped her land the scholarship.