Merrill Scholar: Gretchen Cook-Anderson

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Gretchen Cook-Anderson, Nagoya '88-'89

Her path of giving echoes Mr. Merrill’s own; she created a study abroad scholarship at Spelman College that benefits students who study on IES Abroad programs. A Spelman College grad, she studied with IES Abroad in Nagoya, Japan, in 1988-89. Since, she has had the distinction of serving as a Japanese language interpreter in select meetings of Cabinet Secretary Jesse Brown, Veterans Affairs.

Today, Cook-Anderson inspires and recruits students to study with IES Abroad--namely students of a diverse racial makeup, that come from low-income households, or are first-generation college students. She also attracts and advises students who have otherwise historically faced adversity, like gay, lesbian, or transgender students, as well as those with disabilities.

“My mother majored in French as an undergraduate, but had neither the money nor the family support to study abroad in the mid-1960s. The Merrill Scholarship made it possible for me to live my mother’s dream, as well as my own,” says Cook-Anderson.

To Mr. Merrill, Cook-Anderson says, “Thank you again and again for the genuine generosity to Spelman students like me. I am forever inspired by what you have done and have tried in my own small way to emulate that devotion through my own meager scholarship at Spelman that benefits students who study with IES Abroad.”