A Parting Gift that Opens the World
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A Parting Gift that Opens the World

Brant Bynum Converse

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Dr. Brant Bynum has traveled to all manner of exotic ports of call, from North Africa to Europe, and throughout the Americas. Now he and Judy, his wife of 38 years, are planning a celebratory retirement cruise from Montreal to New York—while his love for travel stays close to home.

Before sailing away from Converse on August 31, 30 years to the day since he joined the faculty, he established the Brant and Judy Bynum Study Abroad Endowment Scholarship to provide a permanent source of study-travel scholarships for Converse students.

“I believe study travel is one of the most important experiences a student can have,” says Bynum, who, in addition to his 30 years as Spanish professor is retiring as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Director of Student Development and Success.

As my legacy, I want to continue to support students…study travel is one of the most important experiences a student can have.

Bynum first traveled abroad as a college student himself. Captivated during childhood by his grandparents’ stories of traversing the globe, he cemented his marriage to Judy with a trip to the Caribbean. Travel has always been a priority in their marriage. In 2006, Bynum hosted a Converse alumnae trip to Greece, and in 2014 he co-hosted a student trip to Argentina.

“Travel opens the world,” Bynum says, explaining his decision to support this aspect of the college experience. “It is a priceless, life-changing experience that broadens your view of the world and of your place within it in a way that eclipses any other educational experience.”

Brant at waterfall with his wifeScholarships from Bynum’s fund will begin making travel possible for Converse students this coming academic year. Additionally, Bynum has named Converse as beneficiary of a life insurance policy that, upon his passing, will significantly boost its impact in perpetuity. While looking forward to his own future trips to Italy, Portugal and the Canary Islands, Bynum contributes each month to this policy, making his Converse gift tax-deductible. “It’s an easy and mutually-beneficial process,” he says.

“We are thankful for generous donors like Brant who understand that endowed gifts create a permanent and transformational impact for students,” says Krista Bofill, Vice President of Institutional Advancement. “Many Converse students  need  support in order to take advantage of travel opportunities. Significantly expanding our student travel resources is a priority.”

Bynum sees his endowment as an opportunity to show other Converse donors the gift of giving. “As my legacy, I want to continue to support students,” he says, “I encourage others to seriously consider something similar.”

Originally published in The Converse Magazine.