In today’s global society, gaining an understanding of the world through international experience is an increasingly vital element of a college education. The Harry and Reba Huge (pronounced HU-gee) Foundation is establishing four annual study-abroad scholarships for students at the College of Charleston. Their $500,000 gift will also support four merit scholarships in The Honors College and a music scholarship in the School of the Arts at the College of Charleston.

Harry Huge spent much of his career working tirelessly on behalf of Estonia, a small European country, and now the gift from his foundation will enable College of Charleston students to experience the country’s progressive culture. The first study-abroad scholarships will be available in summer 2014.

“We hope these scholarships will provide life-changing and eye-opening experiences for College of Charleston students,” says Harry Huge. “There is so much to learn from an emerging country like Estonia – its living history and recent advancements are truly inspiring.”

Estonia regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 in a bloodless transition, in part due to Huge’s work with the U.S. administration and Congress from 1988 -1991. Huge is the Estonian honorary consul for South Carolina. Today, Estonia has one of the highest per capita income levels in Central Europe. Information technology is a key driver of its economy and spawned the global internet calling company, Skype.

The gift also creates an elite group of Huge Scholars who are distinguished by extraordinary academic talent, leadership potential, and community service. The inaugural class of four Huge Scholars will arrive in the fall of 2013 as part of the Honors College and the William Aiken Fellows Society – the College’s top scholars. They will participate in a rigorous academic curriculum and a variety of summer enrichment programs, leadership courses, one-on-one faculty mentoring, and public service activities in the United States or abroad, aswell as research or business internship opportunities across the globe.

The Reba Kinne Huge Award in Music will recognize an accomplished music major in the School of the Arts starting in fall of 2013. The award may be used to supplement scholarship support or be used as a travel stipend for national and international performances and competitions. Preference will be given to students with an interest in participating in the Estonian arts community as a representative of the College and the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation.

“This extraordinary gift from the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation widens the global lens for our students and increases one of the institution’s top priorities – aid for students,” says George Hynd, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “The life-changing experience of studying abroad allows our students to develop a broader perspective of the world and its cultures – a valuable asset in today’s job market.”

The Harry and Reba Huge Foundation is a non-profit foundation supporting education through college scholarships, education seminars and economic development. The Foundation was established in 2005 by Harry and Reba Huge and is headquartered both in Charleston, S.C. and Superior, N.E.