$500,000 donation to Fresno State gives students chance to study abroad

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A generous donation to Fresno State will offer students new perspective while they also get a chance to travel the globe.

Approximately 650 Fresno State students studied in 26 different countries last year. The experience changed their view of the world.

"My time in Thailand has dramatically impacted my life academically and professionally. I was able to learn about Asian healthcare systems," said senior Karen Hernandez.

Liz Shields has donated half a million dollars to fund a new program ensuring students without the means still get a chance to study abroad.

Liz and her late husband John are retired Fresno State professors who've traveled extensively since 1970.

"We met in Botswana in southern Africa. John was a Peace Corps volunteer. I was a British volunteer," she said.

The Shields started a travel scholarship program three years ago but Liz told Action News she planned to move out of the Valley in the future.

"I wanted to make sure that this would go on so this is why we're leaving this legacy so to speak," she said.

The school also planted a tree and dedicated a sitting area in honor of the Shields family.

Overseas trips have helped students gain more appreciation for living conditions back home.

"(The trips) are transformational so being able to provide these types of experiences is truly life-changing," said Dean of Global Education, Scott Moore.

Many students cited cost as the main reason why they don't consider a semester abroad. The Shields endowment has literally opened up a whole new world.
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