by Lucy Turner
Next summer it will be twenty years since I first set foot on Goddard’s campus as a new MFAW student. I thought I was signing up for a two-year experience that would yield both a terminal degree and a sharper sense of what I needed to do to develop as a writer. I craved structure, deadlines, and advice. I reaped those expected benefits during my four semesters of work with Sarah Schulman, Marina Budhos, and Rebecca Brown, all of whom are still points of reference for me as I think about writing and teaching. What I gained that I did not expect was a durable community. Two decades later, Goddard’s Clockhouse Writers’ Conference is one of the most important groups I belong to.
How did I get here? Probably I should have researched many MFA programs, made lists of pros and cons, weighed all options with maximal thoroughness. In fact, that’s not what I did. I heard about Goddard from a fellow West Virginian, musician, and writer who loved it here. I made a connection, received a passionate recommendation, and took a flying leap into my future. This worked perfectly.
Yes, I lucked out, but I think it’s not unusual for communities to grow in this way: through personal connections and word of mouth. I’m writing today about a Goddard program that recognizes and rewards this mode of growth. According to the Goddard College web site, the Friend of Goddard grant “invites members of the Goddard community to recommend friends or colleagues for admission to any of Goddard’s degree programs. Recommended applicants who are offered admission to the College will be awarded a one-time $1,000 grant dispersed over two semesters.”
How wonderful is that? If you are an alumnus or alumna, a staff member, a current or former Goddard trustee, a faculty member, or a program director, and you know of someone who would love to learn at Goddard, you can write a letter of recommendation for this applicant and maybe even help fund his or her education. Further details are available on the Goddard College web site, but in short: a friend pointed me to Goddard, giving me a lifelong gift. You could be that person for someone else. https://www.goddard.edu/admissions/goddard-scholarships/friend-goddard-grant/