Receiving an ESU Scholarship to Attend Oxford Conference in 1988.

My aunt Florence Lahey, introduced me to the English Speaking Union. A World War II US Navy nurse, she enjoyed traveling and visiting England with her sister and brother. On one trip they were invited to Buckingham Palace with a US attorney group and there were in the backdrop of a photo with the young Queen Elizabeth II that appeared in a news magazine.

While working at Chase Manhattan Bank in NYC, I saw in the members magazine, a scholarship program for an event in England, sent in the application, and was thrilled to be notified of being accepted. The scholarship was for a 1988 ESU conference at Oxford titled "Britain Today". It was a 7-day program covering the British government, history, education, and culture. Pamela Blundell from the NY branch made the trip as well as several Americans including a couple from New Jersey.

We stayed at Jesus College in a building shaped like a figure eight with a dining room in the middle. It had three long tables facing a head table surrounded by paintings of distinguished graduates. Several members of Parliament spoke at the event, Lord Pym, and Mrs. Thatcher's press secretary. It appeared the ESU could call on significant British leaders to speak at events from a number of sectors who they had supported earlier in their careers. We had a day trip to see Shakespeare at Stratford. Afterward I took a drive through Wales and realized I was within driving distance of the British Open. Because of a rain delay, I was able to attend the Monday finals which was won by Steve Ballesteros.

My Mother passed away later that year, she could proudly say her son went to Oxford.

Not long after received an invitation to a similar ESU conference in Belgium called Europe Today. Decided to attend the event held at Levin University was much discussion of the then-called European Community. No one expected the EU would come together so quickly soon after. and it was so enjoyable, I went back the next year taking my Dad a WWII veteran. The trips to Bruges were amazing.

I do media work at West Point now and did several talks with Denise Askew, the First Captain, who received a Rhodes Scholarship. On her graduation day after she had said the last word, "Dismissed" initiating the iconic hat toss, I asked her about her graduate school opportunity. She said she was looking forward to it, I was able to say from first-hand experience, that she would have a great experience.

Thank you to the ESU membership for providing the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!