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Celebrating the People Behind Life-Changing Scholarships

Joyce A. Bylander

Alex Froom '08 greets former Vice President for Student Life Joyce Bylander during the 2018 Scholarship Luncheon. Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Technology can unite and also divide. In this era of profound new social challenges and possibilities, Alex Froom ’08 asks, “How do we heal rifts and enact life-affirming change?”

Froom was the alumnus speaker for Dickinson’s 2018 Scholarship Luncheon, an annual celebration that brings scholarship recipients together with the alumni, parents and friends of the college who make their Dickinson educations possible. During his brief address, Froom outlined the philosophy underlying his nonprofit work and the scholarship he’s facilitated through his family trust, as well as the fundamental ways he believes we’re each called to serve a common good.

Froom grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, attended religious schools and came to Dickinson as a transfer student, after a gap year working with youth on the Navajo Nation. Interested in studying world religions and the role Christianity plays in challenges faced by Native peoples, he declared a religion major at Dickinson, did faith-based research in Carlisle, wrote a thesis on the Navajo creation story and graduated magna cum laude. Then it was on to Boston University, where he earned an M.A. in social work and an M.Div. in theology in 2012. A few months later, Froom moved to Arizona, where he ran Rez Refuge Ministries, a nonprofit on the Navajo Nation offering family and youth services, including vocational and leadership training.

Froom still serves as president of that board and also consults on nonprofit management and farm-education programming and serves on the board of a small family foundation, which funds a Dickinson scholarship for Native American students. He additionally worked with Dickinson’s Center for Service, Spirituality & Social Justice to facilitate annual interfaith service trips to Rez Refuge Ministries.

Speaking during the May 5 luncheon, Froom advocated for a culture of neighborly mutual support—beginning with acknowledging differences and celebrating common inheritances—as an antidote to a contentious sociopolitical climate. He also noted that neighborly way of life is self-sustaining. “Nurture begets nurture,” he explained. “We are all made better by the process.”

Poignant remarks also were shared by Edward Brown ’18 and Hayley Murdough ’18, who expressed their gratitude for the scholarship support that made their Dickinson educations possible.

Read more from the summer 2018 issue of Dickinson Magazine

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Published August 3, 2018