Barbara and Rebecca, HCC Employees
Barbara Livieratos and Beckie Mihelcic Chapman have a lot in common. Both worked for and retired from Howard Community College. Both continue to serve the education field through work and volunteering and they share a mutual passion for travel. Perhaps, most importantly for students, both are committed to giving back philanthropically to HCC in a way that increases international studies opportunities for students and faculty alike. It is through their generosity that so many people are spending time away from the HCC campus, are learning about the world by seeing it and experiencing it.
Livieratos established the Livieratos International Fund at HCC in memory of her husband, an avid believer in travel as an educational tool, after his passing in 1996. The fund provides grants for both students and faculty to travel abroad in pursuit of research, volunteer or general educational experiences. International students who wish to travel to the U.S. to study are also encouraged to apply.
“Magic happens when you see and experience a new place for the first time,” said Livieratos, who visited eight different countries last year; a result of her own personal love for travel. “It gets people out of their comfort zone. Nothing is comparable from an educational standpoint.”
Similarly, Mihelcic Chapman’s support of international learning opportunities is giving many people a chance to see the world, who otherwise may not be able to. She contributes regularly to the Sharon Schmickley Travel Fund, which provides financial support to faculty and staff who can advance their skills by learning in other countries.
“I am really committed to helping staff travel abroad because it’s clear that when they do, they bring knowledge back to HCC that benefits and impacts so many people,” said Mihelcic Chapman. “During my 36 years in higher education, I saw many people who wanted to travel but couldn’t afford to. I realized that I could help. So I do.”
Also in common, both Livieratos and Mihelcic Chapman encourage others to join them in their mission to boost international studies and learning experiences at HCC. Together, they encourage potential donors from the community to consider how far a contribution to the school’s international studies program can truly go.
“It’s enlightening to hear what our students saw, learned and got out of their travel experiences,” said Mihelcic Chapman. “When you hear their stories and understand the impact your donation is making, it just motivates you to want to do more.”
Of course, Livieratos agrees.
“It is a wonderful feeling to know you are helping someone reach their goals,” she said. “I love seeing the world and I love knowing that I am helping others do the same.”