New Endowment Ensures Permanent Toulouse Directorship
July 1, 2011
Hal and Carol Jones Saunders ’62, on campus for the Founders’ Society dinner in May, are delighted to provide permanent funding for a director of the Toulouse program.
Carol Jones Saunders ’62 never had the
opportunity to study in France as a Dickinson student. “There just
wasn’t anything like that back then,” says the former French major,
noting that it wasn’t until graduate school that she took courses in the
country whose language she’d studied for nearly a decade.
there, however, Saunders knew this was the best way to learn the
language. “There’s a real difference when you’re totally immersed in the
culture,” she says of her yearlong experience in Paris as a Fulbright
scholar while pursuing an M.A. at Middlebury College’s French School.
“You learn so much more when you’re spending your entire day living,
breathing and dreaming in French.”
going on to teach French at several universities and colleges, Saunders
was excited to learn about the new study-abroad programs Dickinson had
launched since she graduated. Then she stopped by the Dickinson Center
in Toulouse in 2005 during a visit to France with husband Hal and
immediately felt this was something she needed to support.
just thought, ‘Don’t I wish that this had been available for me when I
was at Dickinson?’ ” she recalls. “The fact that we have our own
program—that we don’t farm our students out as the stepchildren of some
other institution—that makes a big difference. Working from our
distinctively Dickinson experience, we immerse our students in the
country and the culture. It’s really the best of both worlds as far as
I’m concerned, and I wanted to do anything I could to help this along.”
Saunders set her sights on creating an endowment that would permanently
fund the position of the center director, who coordinates students’
academic work at the center and the University of Toulouse as well as
their cultural immersion in extracurricular activities. “The goal of our
program is to have students truly become a part of the community,” says
Sylvie Toux, the center’s director. “In addition to placing them with
host families and taking them on trips, I help them find volunteer
opportunities, internships, local clubs or sports—whatever will help to
immerse them in the culture.”
nature of the work means that there is a big advantage to having
permanent funding for the post. “It’s very important to have a permanent
director here because of relationships you need to establish throughout
the community,” Toux adds. “If the director were here for only two
years, you would just start to establish those connections, and then it
would be time to leave.”
Though Saunders understood the impact the gift could have, one thing stood in her way.
rather, the lack of it. “I thought, this would be a dream, but it was
just something that I couldn’t envision ever actually happening,” she
says. “We didn’t have that kind of money lying around.”
“if you don’t have a vision, and if you don’t at least try, then you’ll
never know what you’re capable of,” she adds, noting that Hal, a former
United States assistant secretary of state, also had become an
enthusiastic Dickinson supporter after receiving an honorary doctor of
international relations from the college in 2004.
after making contributions for nearly nine years from the sale of
rental properties built by her grandfather, a brick mason and
contractor, plus an unexpected tax refund and some appreciated stock
inherited from her family, Saunders and her husband have fully funded
the Carol Jones Saunders ’62 Fund for the Toulouse Center Directorship.
Their experience, she believes, should provide an important lesson to
potential donors who might think they lack the funds to make an endowed
“You don’t have to be a
zillionaire to do something like this. You can take an incremental
approach and just keep on putting what you can into the pot until you
reach your goal,” says Saunders, who sees the endowment as an
“accumulated gift of three generations of an immigrant family of
hard-working small businessmen.”
no matter how long it took to accumulate funding for the endowment,
Saunders is confident that its impact will last significantly longer.
centers and their directors are so important to the global experience
at Dickinson,” she explains. “They don’t just help the students get
enrolled in their courses; they really connect them with the culture.
Students get the chance to build friendships not only with fellow
Dickinsonians but also with new French friends. These relationships can
stick with them for a lifetime. I couldn’t have this experience, but I’m
delighted I can help today’s Dickinson students achieve it.”