Investing in the Future
Michael will never meet his benefactors.
But together, they’re bringing a shared vision to life.
Connected across generations
It’s not every day that a student on track to become an English teacher receives a scholarship established by an English teacher from a previous generation. And while countless teachers have been the recipients and benefactors of gifts to WCU Foundation throughout the years, this gap is one that hasn’t always gotten the attention it deserves.
But Michael Nangle, a WCU first-year student and the most recent recipient of the Herbert F. Mitchell Scholarship, believes he knows why.
“Education, while prevalent in every person’s life, is often not considered for massive donations or scholarship funds,” he says. “Our peers in the educational realm often times cannot afford to give large endowments back to our community.”
“Teachers do not earn incredible salaries,” Michael concludes.
So when Michael learned about — and was eventually awarded — the Herbert F. Mitchell Scholarship, he found it particularly interesting and unique. This scholarship, awarded to incoming students on track to become English educators, exemplifies the West Chester University cycle of success — and is allowing Michael to double down on his decision to lead, inside and outside the classroom.
Aspiring English teacher and first-year student recipient of the Herbert F. Mitchell Scholarship
“The Herbert F. Mitchell Scholarship launched me into my collegiate career in a way I didn’t expect. It allowed me to focus more time on my service and career readiness, but also confirmed that I was on the right track." – Michael Nangle
The recognition by the committee awarding this scholarship helped me confirm that my steps in leadership are impactful and helpful — for the community, and for myself.”
Learning to lead
In high school, Michael discovered an early affinity for education. And while he has always enjoyed the learning aspect of school — language arts studies in particular — he’s found he has an equally strong love of leading.
“Being in classrooms not only fulfills me, but inspires me to do better,” Michael says. That’s why, in addition to preparing for a career track to become an English teacher, he got deeply involved in high school programs like LINK, which stimulated leadership and community involvement for people like him.
Michael enjoyed wordsmithing and leadership so much that he decided to help other students explore their linguistic skills. “I helped create, develop, and implement a songwriting program at my local YMCA,” he tells us. “It was on ongoing project where we could promote creative development.”
Thanks to the Herbert F. Mitchell Scholarship, Michael was able to bring his love of learning and leading to the College of Arts and Humanities at West Chester University.
The West Chester launchpad
“As a first-year student, it was hard for me to discern what path I should be taking,” Michael says. “The recognition by the committee awarding this scholarship helped me confirm that my steps in leadership are impactful and helpful — for the community, and for myself.”
Michael explains that while he has always had an interest in English and in community programs, he previously doubted whether or not either or both were the best use of his skills. Now, with the support of a generous gift endowed by previous WCU alumni and approved by modern leaders in education, Michael is thriving on campus. He is already maintaining a 3.9 GPA, and acts as President of the Honors Student Association.
With so much momentum, Michael knows he can pursue his passions and give back where he can.
“My immediate plan is to become a high school English teacher,” he asserts. “I hope to be able to bring both English and leadership education to the next generation of learners, providing students with literacy skills and a sense of purpose.”
A vision fulfilled
What made Michael’s rare English teaching support possible? It began with a planned gift from Herbert F. Mitchell ’42 and his wife, Gloria (Hedley) Mitchell ’42, who passed in 2008 and 2011, respectively. As a couple who met at West Chester University and served decades in education, they made a $1.49 million legacy gift to WCU Foundation that represented 100% of the value of their estates. It was the second largest in University history at the time of its donation.
As English and music instructors respectively, Herbert and Gloria understood how much each generation of educators can benefit from support that allows them to focus, and encourages them to excel.
“We rely on the last generation of teachers to help create the next great generation of leaders,” says Michael. “The Herbert F. Mitchell Scholarship offers English Education majors a chance to become great teachers, leaders, and people.”
“Investing in our teachers is investing in the future.”