“To me, that’s what’s remarkable about studying abroad—finding a home away from home.”
From London to Tallahassee, Jessica McGuire (´16) has always felt at home at Florida State University. “My uncle, Jim King, is an FSU alumnus and lifelong supporter of the university,” she shared. “The life sciences building is named after him, and you’ll find photos of my family hung on the walls.”
Following in her uncle’s footsteps, McGuire attended FSU, where she studied abroad in London her junior year. After graduating summa cum laude and moving to New York, McGuire still fondly reflects on the experiences that made her college years memorable. “I am so grateful for the path Florida State set me on and the many ways it made my life better,” she said. “I think all of us who have the ability also have the responsibility to support people who are looking for that same opportunity.”
That’s why McGuire recently established the Jessica E. McGuire Endowment for Global Learning, which will provide financial assistance to students traveling abroad through FSU’s International Programs and help support PeaceJam, an international education program built around Nobel Peace Prize laureates whose southeast headquarters are housed at Florida State.
When asked why she chose to support these two areas, McGuire cited the benefits these two experiences had on her as a student. “When I look back at my semester in London, I see that it had a major impact not only on my education but more broadly on who I am today. When I thought about how I could begin my relationship with FSU as an alumna, my first thought was my time studying abroad. It was only because a kind stranger donated to Florida State that I had such an incredible adventure.”
Similar to her time abroad, working with PeaceJam created valuable lifelong experiences. “[Through PeaceJam], I found my voice and learned how to use it to create positive, sustainable change during that time. I’ve met five Nobel laureates in my life, some of which I’ve had the pleasure of having lunch with! Not many people get those opportunities, but PeaceJam made them possible. I hope more FSU students and youth throughout the southeast will get that [experience] with the help of this endowment.”
A passion for global learning does not go hand-in-hand with any one major, which is why McGuire chose to make her endowment open to all students with interest. “In my experience, FSU students go on to be informed, compassionate, curious and enthusiastic citizens,” she stated. “I hope this endowment will build graduates, regardless of their chosen major, who are lifelong learners; who engage with and uplift their communities; and who value the diversity of thought, experience and culture this world has to offer.
“It’s been very special to reflect on my undergraduate experience and my family’s legacy while putting together an endowment that feels personal and impactful to me. Creating this endowment is a proud moment in my life and a milestone that has been a dream in the back of my mind.”
Unlike an outright donation, an endowment is a permanent gift. The principal is invested, and a portion of the earnings is used annually to support the university. Because the principal is never spent, this ensures the endowment—and the support it provides—never ends. By creating this endowment, McGuire assures future generations of Seminoles will find their home at Florida State.