Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Elin Danien

Last week, my thirty-year old son Gabriel married his longtime love. The wedding announcement that appeared in Sunday's NEW YORK TIMES mentioned my book; and because the TIMES has international circulation, I heard from people all over the world.

One of the women who wrote me was 77-year old Elin Danien, the founder of BREAD UPON THE WATERS, a unique scholarship program for non-traditional students at the University of Pennsylvania. (She's pictured above receiving a "Hometown Hero" award in November of 2005 from the Philadelphia 76ers.)

Here's what I discovered about the program when I went to its description on the UPenn website:

Bread Upon the Waters is the only scholarship of its kind -- specifically designed to benefit women over the age of 30 who wish to complete an undergraduate degree through part-time study at the University of Pennsylvania.

[The organization] was founded in 1986 by Elin Danien, a graduate of Penn's College of General Studies. Elin enrolled as a freshman at the age of 46 and graduated seven years later summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Her academic awakening and positive experience as an older woman student led her to establish a scholarship fund to help other nontraditional students realize their dreams.

According to Elin's note, the program has 60 graduates--33 of them with honors. Twenty-five women take courses each year. At age 68, Elin herself earned a PhD in anthropology. She asked me to give her a call so that she could tell me the story in her own words.

Stay tuned for more details about this wonderful woman and her on-going work.

* Photo Credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant NBAE/Getty Images

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