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January 30, 2014

Human Service in Senegal: Sargeant's Fund Put to Good Use

Recipients of a new annual award for Darla Moore School of Business students, established through a fund from alumnus Tom Sargeant, ’80, accounting, are required to engage in meaningful out-of-classroom experiences.

Riley Shipman, a senior from Boca Raton, Fla., and immediate past president of the USC Sorority Council, met all expectations as first recipient of The Thomas J. Sargeant Fund award. This past summer, she helped build a school in the west Africa nation of Senegal by teaming up with 12 fellow sorority members from The Circle of Sisterhood Foundation. The foundation sends members throughout the world to support projects that seek to end the cycle of poverty for girls and women.

caption: Senior Riley Shipman, left, and Moore school alumnus Tom Sargeant, '80, greet one another during a Darla Moore School of Business function.Shipman, who used Sargeant’s award to pay for vaccinations, medicine, and her Visa, said it is particularly difficult for girls to receive an education in Senegal. The new elementary school will create new learning opportunities, and she was able to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony followed by hands-on work. The entire project—from mixing cement to stacking bricks to positioning rebar—was constructed by hand.

“I was definitely very passionate about our cause,” said Shipman, who belongs to USC’s Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and will earn a degree in marketing and management in May 2014. “School authorities had to sign a covenant stating that at least 50 percent of the students at all times must be girls.”

Sargeant knows something about community building himself: He is Chief Financial Officer of AvalonBay Communities, Inc., of Arlington, Va., which develops high-quality apartment communities. Strongly of the belief that human-service opportunities help round out an exceptional Darla Moore School of Business education, he had the opportunity to meet Shipman and hear about her journey.

“Riley’s commitment to serving others in need is most impressive,” Sargeant said. “Her summer trip outside the classroom was no vacation.”

On April 11, 2013, Shipman was inducted into the University of South Carolina Hall of Leaders during the annual Leadership and Service Awards. Following a competitive application process, the next award recipient of The Thomas J. Sargeant Fund will be named in spring 2014.
–Larry Di Giovanni, Development Communications