By Jessica Love
Accepted to 25 prestigious universities and awarded nearly one million dollars in scholarship money, Frederick Uy chose to attend Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina for one reason.
“It was the tone of the conversation,” Uy said. “I had visited several university orientations and the content was all the same, but Claflin’s office admission aid was really passionate.”
Uy knew immediately that Claflin would be the right place to help him succeed. The university is one of 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) supported by the United Methodist Black College Fund (BCF). The BCF is administered by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM).
Uy said he immediately felt at home at Claflin, an environment fueled by a small student-to-faculty ratio (13:1) and “Claflin Confidence.”
That “Claflin Confidence,” the school’s mantra, is designed to equip students with poise to become “visionary leaders.” It is upheld by supportive and relatable mentors, career-oriented programs and unique network opportunities, ripe for the academic, social, cultural and spiritual growth Uy yearned for.
The atmosphere at the school reminded Uy of the kind of help and support he and his family received from the United Methodist Church when they first moved to the United States. Uy was born in Quezon, Philippines and moved to Tacoma, Washington when he was 15 years old.
“The United Methodist church is the one who welcomed me with opened doors and opened arms when I was new in Washington. They were the ones who helped me adapt to the culture, so I was very excited to give back and serve as a Black College Fund ambassador,” he said.
As an ambassador and Lina H. McCord intern with the BCF, the 19-year-old sophomore will travel to churches and annual conferences to share the work of the fund and how it helps students reach their goals for graduation and beyond.
Uy’s personal goal is to use his education to return to the Philippines and make a difference there.
“That city [Quezon] has a lot corruption…A lot of people are oppressing minorities just because they don’t have the knowledge or the resources to fight back, or they don’t know their rights. I want to change this, so that motivated me to become a financial lawyer,” he said.
Claflin is providing direct development opportunities to help Uy sharpen his financial skills. The university’s School of Business encourages undergraduates to participate in its Annual Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition, a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition where aspiring entrepreneurs compete to receive investments in their ideas.
Although the competition is traditionally for upper-class students, Uy went against the grain and organized a group of freshmen to compete this year. The team won second place for their innovative plan to bring an affordable cell phone repair business to Orangeburg.
Opportunities like the business plan competition are why the Black College Fund is so important to Uy. He’s seen firsthand all the vital student experiences it helps to support.
“Being able to witness what the Black College Fund has done for Claflin University is life changing for me,” he said.
In addition to academic programs, the BCF also helps support new on-campus infrastructure and many other initiatives at the 11 participating schools.
Uy says it is a privilege to serve as a Black College Fund intern, because it provides an opportunity for him to give back to the United Methodist Church and his community.
Stay tuned for more student profiles in GBHEM’s eight-part series on the Black College Fund’s Lina H. McCord interns.
About GBHEM: As the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry’s mission is to build capacity for United Methodist lay and clergy leaders to discover, claim and flourish in Christ’s calling in their lives, by creating connections and providing resources to aid in recruitment, education, professional development and spiritual formation. Every elder, deacon and licensed local pastor benefits from our training and candidacy programs. Many young adults find help in clarifying their vocation and God’s call in their lives through our leadership and discernment programs. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: @GBHEM.