Anonymous AU Donor Gifts Endowment for International Scholarships


Anderson, Ind. — Anderson University is starting the Berenice Villarreal Endowed Scholarship Fund after the generous gift of an anonymous donor. This scholarship will be given to assist students from Latin America, other international students, or students who are immigrants to the U.S. 

“We’re excited to announce this new endowment for international students,” said President John S. Pistole. “This enables additional deserving students an opportunity to get an outstanding education in a Christ-centered environment. We appreciate the generous donors who are helping make this possible.”

This scholarship is so named because of Berenice Villarreal, who spent the first 12 years of her life in Mexico City before her mother announced the family was moving to the United States due to unrest in Mexico City. Berenice graduated from high school and was excited about going to college, but her mother’s visa no longer covered her after she turned 18.

An attorney helped her get temporary visas, but she was required to pay international student tuition. She was given a scholarship at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, which was a dream come true.

As she finished her first year, she learned federal aid had been granted to her in error. The school asked her to fill out federal forms, which led to federal aid; however, international students were not eligible. As a result, all federal aid was revoked and Berenice could no longer afford a private university. She transferred to the University of Texas San Antonio, working part time during the school year and full time in the summers to help pay the tuition. 

Every year upon requesting a visa renewal Berenice feared it would be denied and she would be sent back to Mexico alone. After talking to her dean, he understood her predicament and she was able to graduate with a double major in accounting and finance in four years.

“It is unfortunate that some international students may face disparities in the U.S., but access to higher education should not be one of them,” said Heather Kim, vice president of enrollment, marketing, and communication. “With generous donor support, Anderson University is excited to provide scholarship opportunities to these deserving individuals.”

Gifts may be sent to Anderson University – ATTN: Advancement, 1100 E 5th St., Anderson, Indiana 46012 or online at

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.