The IU School of Education has gone global—in its mission and its impact. Keith Jepsen believes so much in the value of international experiences that he made a promise to his grandkids: Learn a language well enough to speak it in another country, and we’ll take you there as your high school graduation gift.
“Keith has a passion for building international understanding,” says Gerardo González, dean of the IU School of Education. Jepsen, an alumnus of the school, developed his perspectives about the significance of cultural immersion over a more than 40-year career in financial aid for higher education students. In 2000, Jepsen founded the Global Student Loan Corporation to make it easier for international students to finance their study abroad experiences. Putting this principle into practice at the School of Education, Jepsen and his wife, Kathy Dore, established the Jepsen International Study Scholarship to give IU students a chance to immerse themselves in a foreign culture and community. The cultural awareness these students develop will help them be better teachers back home. “International study is an exchange between the students and the people with whom they interact,” says Jepsen. “Both are better for the experience.”
And to other alumni and supporters, Jepsen says, “supporting these students is the biggest bang for your buck you could ever imagine—no matter how small or large your gifts. It’s so rewarding to hear from these students who email thanks for helping change their lives, forever. Especially satisfying are the notes you’ll receive years after they begin teaching. Think about how many people these students affect and how many people those people affect. It’s geometric!”