Six Bluefield College students were recently named the first recipients of the newly established Trent Argo International Scholarship, formed in memory of former BC vice president for enrollment management Trent Argo.
The Argo Scholarship was created in the fall of 2017 not only to preserve the legacy of Trent Argo, who served as vice president for enrollment management and student development at Bluefield College from 2011 to 2017, but also to provide additional financial resources to help international students attend BC. Recruiting international students was a passion of Argo’s during his time at Bluefield as evidenced by the growth in the school’s international student population during his tenure from just 10 students when he arrived to more than 50 students in his final year.
Recipients of the inaugural Argo Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year were Tanaka Rushwaya, Abel Bogale, Yaroslav Hnatusko, Michael Gutu, Felipe Brugnari, and Sven Kleinhans.
Pictured above: Trent Argo International Scholarship representative Nathalia Lima (far left) and campus pastor Dr. Henry Clary (far right) present three of the six inaugural Bluefield College Argo Scholarships to (from left): Yaroslav Hnatusko, Tanaka Rushwaya and Michael Gutu. Recipients not pictured: Abel Bogale, Felipe Brugnari and Sven Kleinhans.
Rushwaya is from Zimbabwe and is majoring in accounting. He is a member of the men’s tennis and cross-country teams, as well as an accounting tutor and member of the Black Student Alliance. While at BC, Rushwaya has also been a recipient of two scholar-athlete awards.
Bogale is from Ethiopia and is majoring in criminal justice. He is a member of the men’s varsity soccer team. Hnatusko is from Ukraine and is double majoring in sports management and business management. He is also a member the Phi Beta Lambda business society, Changemakers Club, and the men’s varsity tennis team.
Gutu is also from Zimbabwe and is majoring in information systems and technology with a minor in business management. He is also a member of the Black Student Alliance, Bluefield Collegiate Ministries, and the men’s varsity tennis team. In fact, he was the 2017 Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) Freshman of the Year for men’s tennis and earned BC’s Ram EFFORT award.
Brugnari is from Brazil and is majoring in business management. He is also a member of the men’s varsity soccer team. Kleinhans is from Germany and is majoring in exercise and sports science with a minor in business management. He, too, is a member of the men’s varsity soccer team.
“Receiving the Trent Argo Scholarship will definitely go a long way,” said Rushwaya. “As international students, we are not eligible for most benefits other U.S. citizens get, so receiving this fund means the world to us. Going home for holidays is not always easy, if you are coming from far away countries, but Sandra [Argo, Trent’s widow] and Bluefield College [who founded the scholarship] have put a stepping stone for us, and for that we are grateful.”
Under Argo’s guidance, Bluefield College enrolled a record number of traditional students in 2016. And while Argo passed away unexpectedly in the spring of 2017, it was not before he laid the foundation for what would become the most celebrated enrollment year in BC history when a school record 993 students enrolled in the fall of 2017. Argo also developed partnerships with international universities to benefit BC students, including an alliance with Universidade Federal do Para (UFPA), the fifth largest university in Brazil and the number one academic institution for genetics research.
“I would like to point on those people who take care of others,” said Yaroslav. “For some people, it can be a challenging time. We all value the help. We are always grateful to people who are with us when we are far away from our homes. The help of Sandra [Argo] inspires us to pay forward the kindness and generosity.”
In fact, while serving in the United States Air Force in Turkey at the age of 17, unsure of his future and his surroundings, Argo determined he would invest his life in helping people from around the world feel welcomed in his country, discover the unknown, and learn about themselves just as he did.
“I had the privilege of meeting Trent on my arrival,” said Gutu. “He told me how much he wanted Bluefield to be recognized internationally. So, l am really honored to receive this scholarship in his name. All l can do is try to market the name of this school in a good way knowing that there is a great man behind it.”
Argo also played a key role in the creation of BC’s Pathways half-price tuition plan, which reduced tuition by nearly 50 percent for students at the lowest socio-economic level.
In addition, under his guidance Bluefield earned a variety of admission distinctions, including being ranked among the top 50 colleges nationwide for overall value, among just 22 colleges in the nation with an “A” rated core curriculum, among the Top Tier Colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report, the 11th most beautiful Christian college campus in America, and among the most Military Friendly Schools.
“Receiving this scholarship means a lot for I needed it a lot since I was raised by a single mother (who) cannot pay all my tuition,” said Bogale. “I work every time I have school break to pay my tuition. I would like to thank all the Bluefield family who helps me not only for this award, but for everything. From the first day, I felt home, and I am planning to keep it this way for the next two years until I graduate.”
Through the creation of the scholarship and the distribution of its funds to promising international students, the work of Argo continues at Bluefield College. To be eligible for the Argo Scholarship, students must show a history of engagement and leadership in school activities, including clubs and sports, along with a record of achievement in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. To apply, students must submit a two-page essay explaining why they are deserving of the scholarship, a letter of recommendation from a Bluefield College professor and from a BC coach or club advisor, and a copy of their financial aid record. To apply, call 276-326-4217, e-mail [email protected], or visit bluefield.edu/scholarships.