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Overcoming Obstacles

It's no secret that higher education is expensive. And while we believe that a Malone education is priceless, for many students, the cost is just too great a barrier.

While we do everything we can on our end - through financial aid and helping students find scholarships [see Brittany's story below - and Lawrence's here!]. We want to demolish these obstacles by raising money for student financial aid.

And we need your help.

Your dollars will support students like Brittany, who didn't know how she was going to pay for college after her mother died.

Brittany and Nate Miller

Brittany Miller ’12 says she’s always been one to count her blessings. Not her trials.

 A thoughtful perspective for a young woman who lost both parents during her college career.

“I had two parents who loved me for 21 and 22 years,” Brittany says. “So many people can’t say that. My parents were married for 27 years – and they showed me what a great marriage looks like. I was blessed enough to have that.”

Brittany’s mom’s death – during Brittany’s junior year - was unexpected. A nurse, she had an exploratory surgery for persistent, intense abdominal pain. During the procedure, the surgeon perforated her bowel, and it went undetected for 12 hours. She died of sepsis – the Tuesday before Thanksgiving of 2010.

Her dad’s death was more expected, but no less painful. He was diagnosed with kidney cancer Brittany’s junior year of high school. The cancer eventually metastasized into his brain, and he died August 28, 2011, the day before classes were to start for the Fall semester.

During those times, the Business Administration and Theology major was more thankful than ever that she had chosen Malone University for her college career.

“Sue Nicholson was an angel,” says Brittany of her mentor and the associate professor of biblical studies. “I had Sue as a professor six times and every time in class she would ask, ‘how can I pray for you?’ Everyone in my class grew closer because of that. She was my professor my freshman year and she helped me through when my uncle committed suicide because I knew she was someone I could trust. We got really close, and she even came to the hospital in Columbus when my dad had a couple of weeks left to live.”

What’s more, Malone faculty and staff saw to it that Brittany could finish her education at Malone.

“I did not know how I was possibly going to pay for school after my mom died,” she says. “Patty Little [Director of Center for Student Success] helped me fill out all of my financial aid forms – and helped me scour through every possible scholarship I could qualify for – so I was able to get enough. I wanted to come to Malone from the very beginning, but the kindness and compassion of my professors and Patty made me so glad I came here!”

And one day soon after her father’s death, Little handed Brittany a card. Inside was nearly $2,000 that Patty had collected from colleagues.

Brittany cried.

Thankfully, not all of Brittany’s Malone memories are tragic. She describes meeting her husband, Nate Miller ’13, a music production major, through mutual friends.

“I scared him,” she says. “Before we even were friends, I told him, ‘we have the same last name, so we should get married some day.’ He claims that I actually proposed when I said that, but I merely suggested that it would be a good idea.”

The couple got married on August 13, 2012 – the date of her parents’ anniversary. Brittany didn’t care that it was a Monday.

“I had to,” Brittany says. “My parents always told me that if something in life is tough, then it might be better an hour, a day, a year from now. And if its pain we have to suffer for the rest of our lives, well, we can always look forward to heaven, where it doesn’t hurt any more.”

But until then, Brittany wants to live her life to make a difference. She’s working as a purchaser for a plumbing company now, but she dreams of starting a non-profit so that she can give money away – to help others like others helped her.

“I once wanted to become a missionary overseas,” she says, “But at the moment I feel my calling is here in America. However, I plan and God laughs. So we’ll see where he leads me.”