Paying it forward

Colleen McCormick Malone, Lor Vang and Mike Malone pose for a photo.

Colleen McCormick Malone ’80 and Mike Malone (SJU ’80) both feel a deep connection to the CSB/SJU community. So much so that they’ve sponsored a scholarship for first-generation Bennies. But while Colleen definitely feels a connection to Saint Ben’s as a college and a community, that doesn’t automatically mean she would feel a connection with today’s students, right? A lot has changed in the years since she was a student herself. 

So when Colleen received a thank you note from a recipient of the Malone Scholarship – Lor Vang ’19 – she expected to feel fulfilled and impressed. She didn’t expect to feel personally connected. Colleen comes from a family with deep Minnesota roots – Lor is an immigrant who came to the United States from Thailand. Colleen’s mother earned a college degree – Lor is a first-generation college student. Lor was an accomplished and motivated college student and Colleen felt proud and impressed. But connected?

Then she saw the address on that thank you note. Lor had grown up just a few houses down the street from Colleen’s childhood home in Brooklyn Center. “I don’t even know exactly why it hit me so hard,” recalls Colleen, “but it meant a lot to me that we grew up in the same place and now I’m fortunate enough to help her get a degree at the same college I went to.”

Lor has been inspired to pay it forward. “As of now, I hope to provide mentorship to students who are unsure of their potential,” she says. “I guess we won’t know how much impact we can create until we initiate it!”