Benevolence promotes democracy
Couple funds Univ. work in Croatia
Published , January 10, 2006, 06:00:01 AM EDT
A Virginia couple has donated $500,000 to support University work in Croatia.
Lawrence V. Phillips and his wife Sarah Mae, of Round Hill, Va., said in a University press release that they hope their gift will help improve public health and economic development in rural Croatia.
Lawrence Phillips knew little about the Universityâ€™s work in Croatia until last summer when he was trying to have an old letter translated.
The letter was written in the early 1900s by a woman from the same village where Phillipâ€™s mother was born. Croatian relatives told Phillips that the letter contained information about his mother.
Phillips asked his daughter, Carol Cotton, a professor of health promotion at the University, if she knew anyone who could help.
Eventually, Cotton got in touch with Keith Langston, head of the department of Germanic and Slavic languages, who faxed back a translation of the letter within an hour of receiving it.
The speedy, free translation got Phillips attention and he began looking into the Universityâ€™s involvement in Croatia.
Phillips saw the work the University has done with the Carl Vinson Institute in Croatia and he and his wife decided to make the donation to the program.
'Since Iâ€™m an M.D., and Carol is in health promotion, I thought it would be a good idea to combine public health and rural development work in Croatia, and that is how this gift will be used,' Phillips said in the release.
Rusty Brooks, coordinater of the Universityâ€™s Croatian programs, said in the release that the coupleâ€™s gift will be used in several ways including providing service-learning opportunities for University students in Croatia, and may enable University and University of Zagreb faculty to jointly develop public health and economic development programs.
Phillips said he hopes one outcome of his gift to the University will be to help negate an 'ugly American' image that he believes persists abroad.
'Benevolence promotes democracy,' he said.