It is ordinary for a university to award scholarships to its students; however, what is extraordinary is awarding a scholarship funded by another student.
Troy University sophomore Cole Debardelaben, a computer science major from Deatsville, Alabama, worked with the Office of Development and the Troy University Foundation to create the Robert N. “Cole” Debardelaben Current Scholarship.
The $1,000 scholarship is available to incoming freshmen who received the Millennium Scholarship to help with other expenses students face.
Debardelaben, who earned several scholarships including the Millennium, band and various awards from third-parties, said college would have been difficult to pay for without that assistance.
“If I didn’t have scholarship money, I wouldn’t be able to attend college without having to have a job and a hectic schedule,” he said. “I understand the importance of scholarships and I am very grateful.”
In creating his own scholarship, he hoped to attract like-minded individuals who are focused on academic progress but need financial help.
“I am attempting to reach out to other students who have proven their academic successes so that they may look more closely at attending TROY,” he said. “This scholarship is designed to help students who need additional funds beyond what the Millennium Scholarship offers.”
Debardelaben said he plans to renew the $1,000 scholarship for the remainder of his time in college with help from his father; however, he aims to increase the amount as he is able to gain the funds on his own.
“This will be a permanent scholarship,” he said. “I intend to increase the funding after college as my resources increase.”
Dr. Jean Laliberte, Associate Vice Chancellor for Development and Vice President of the Troy Foundation Board, was instrumental in the fruition of Debardelaben’s goal.
“She was very helpful, very enthused and talked about all the different options,” he said.
Laliberte and Debardelaben first started planning for his scholarship last year, and she was surprised at this unexpected request.
“For someone who is 18, 19 years old to be that mature in their thinking, I thought it was just absolutely fabulous,” she said.
No matter how small a contribution is, it makes something big when combined with others’ contributions
This is the first time in school history that a student has funded a scholarship, and she thinks his action can serve as an idea generator for other students who want to help those in need.
“No matter how small a contribution is, it makes something big when combined with others’ contributions,” Debardelaben said. He suggests joining one of TROY’s many service organizations, being a mentor, buying a TROY tag to support other Foundation scholarships or simply giving someone directions on campus.
“My motivation behind starting my scholarship is the feeling that if I have been given something, I shouldn’t wait until a later date.” he said. “I should give as I receive.”
The deadline to apply for all TROY scholarships is March 31.