Seize the Day: Scholarships and Faculty Guidance Built a Leader

Michael Fehrle from the Widener class of 2022 stands in front of the Bown Garden, wearing a blue Widener Rugby t-shirt

As a high school senior in Northeast Philadelphia, Michael Fehrle '22 knew about Widener University. It was one of several schools on his list as he considered his options for college.

But once he visited, he was hooked. In high school, STEM classes were a strength for Michael and Widener’s engineering school was right up his alley. Widener was just the right size –he could see how easy it would be for him to feel lost on other, bigger campuses. The faculty was personable and their expertise was impressive.

Donor support made Widener accessible

In addition, the financial aid the university was able to offer thanks to support from generous donors made it possible for Michael to choose Widener. “The Presidential Scholarship, renewable for four years, was a big help.” That scholarship, made possible by donor gifts, and combined with the academic opportunities that Widener provided, was enough to seal the deal.

“The Presidential Scholarship, renewable for four years, was a big help.”

“I really liked the civil engineering program, and when I started I thought I wanted to be an engineer,” Michael says. As he spent more time exploring his options, his plans shifted, and he knew that being in the field was a lot more attractive than being in an office. “I realized I wanted to manage construction projects on-site.” Therefore, he switched his major to Operations Management in the School of Business Administration and an academic – and professional – career took flight.

Faculty mentorship helped him grow

The smaller classes and commitment from his faculty enabled him to thrive. “I’m not one of 300 students in a lecture hall. The teachers and smaller classes are so personal,” he says. Once in class, he realized “they used examples from what I was doing in my job and internship. They probably thought they were just doing their jobs, but it really helped me learn.” Outside of the classroom, he was able to grow as well. He was both captain and finance chair of the men’s Rugby club. He joined several honorary societies and made friends across campus.

Through the School of Business, Michael garnered an internship at INTECH, a construction management company just outside Philadelphia. From that opportunity and the quality of work performed, he received a job offer, and started his full-time career right after graduation.

Looking back, Michael has some fond memories of his time at Widener. His rugby experiences, his time with faculty, his ability to build a career, all of them made possible by Widener’s commitment to giving students the Inside Track.

“Students [during the pandemic] had to make the best of their time, having had so much unpredictability. They had to seize the day. And Widener helped me do that.”

You can build up students just like Michael. By making a gift to scholarships and financial aid, you can put your own resources to work to help our students build their own next chapters.

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