Award will lift Perry’s student loan burden

College of Education and Human Sciences college education human sciences

Anna Perry didn’t know her day was going to turn around.

A few hours after hail shattered both her windshields, Perry found out she would be leaving Oklahoma State University debt free.

On May 5, just two days before she would walk across the graduation stage, Perry was informed she would receive the Bryan Close Teaching Endowment Fund. The award lifts her burden of student loans.

“I never wanted to be a teacher, but I admire those who do,” Close said. “One of the more distressing things to any college student is the inevitable student debt. It can be straining. And it’s the education students that are least likely to make a lot of money.”

This marks the fifth year that Close, a 1966 OSU alumnus and long-time donor, has awarded this scholarship to a senior education major in the College of Education and Human Sciences.

He got the idea from Piyush Patel, who spoke at OSU’s commencement ceremony in 2017. During the address, Patel announced he would be paying off a graduating senior’s loans.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in there,” Close said. “And I thought, ‘God, that is so cool.’ And this has become the most fun thing I do on this campus.”

The surprise announcement came as a complete shock to Perry. She was told she was coming to the OSU Foundation to be a part of a panel discussion to share her experiences as a scholarship recipient.

Instead, Close broke the news, and Perry was overcome with emotion.

“I really can’t believe this,” she said. “How can someone do this? How can someone do such an amazing thing? I’m so, so blessed. I’ve never felt this kind of gratitude in my entire life.”

Perry is moving back to Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, to teach children in the community where she grew up. She was overjoyed that she would be able to afford classroom supplies more freely and give her future students the best possible learning environment.

“You giving to me makes me feel even more inspired to give to my students,” Perry said to Close. “You have no idea what this will do for me.

“This is the best day of my life for sure. I’ll never be able to tell you how thankful I am.”

To learn more about making an impact at Oklahoma State University, contact Rachel Tribble.