Faith Caldwell, ESIA BA ’71, was a college sophomore in Pennsylvania studying to be a foreign service officer, but had always wanted to come to Washington. When two friends told her they were attending the George Washington University in the fall, one as a transfer and the other as a graduate student, they asked, “Why don’t you come with us?”
So she did.
“I went down with them on a visit trip and turned right around and applied,” says the former Elliott School Board of Advisors member. GW accepted all of her credits, so Caldwell came in as a junior.
“The School of International Affairs was very small at that time,” she recalls. “It was strictly a two-year program for juniors and seniors, and I just dropped right in. The classes were engaging, the students were all very single-minded, and I made friends in the dorm. It was just a great, great transfer experience.”
After graduation, Caldwell married and spent a year with her husband in West Berlin. They then moved to upstate New York, and Caldwell earned a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in judicial administration from NYU. While in the program, she landed an internship with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. “I look back on that now, and it turned my career around.”
Caldwell’s experience had such a profound effect on her life that she established the Caldwell Endowment for Study Abroad at her alma mater. Funded by a bequest intention in her will, the gift will provide funding for students to defray costs of internships and study abroad experiences.
In addition to establishing this endowment, Caldwell offers generous and ongoing support to GW’s Knowledge in Action Career Internship Fund (KACIF). She designates these annual gifts to Elliott School students.
“I want to be able to support the students,” she says, “so when I found the Knowledge in Action Fund to support internships, I was really pleased because that’s right where I want to be. It’s not hard for me to make those gifts because I know they’re supporting a great cause.”
The study abroad focus is especially important for Elliott School students, as Caldwell explains.
“If we’re going to be international relations specialists, I think we need to be able to see the world from a different perspective,” Caldwell says. “And the only way we can do that is by going somewhere else. Whether it’s for a short term or a semester or a year abroad, that exposure to a different lifestyle, a different perspective, a different view of the U.S., is so important, because it helps us balance our viewpoint of the world.”