Madison Barker

Opening heart, mind to philanthropy

When Madison Barker signed up for a Jan Term class about philanthropy, she had no idea what was in store for her.

"Basically, I took it because my best friend was taking it," she says. "The only thing I knew about philanthropy was what I'd hear from the fraternities and sororities. I knew nothing about it, that it was about charity, nothing like that."

Madison, a first-year student from Fort Myers, Fla., wasn't able to take advantage of an off-campus course because she plays basketball, a winter sport. But she and her best friend Kelsey Mitchell, who also plays basketball, decided to take course together. Madison left it to Kelsey to choose – and she decided on "Where Your Treasure Is …: An Introduction to the Theology, Philosophy and Stories of Philanthropy and Fundraising."

It was during a discussion on stewardship that things started hitting home for Madison.

"About the third day in class, we started talking about how everything here on earth belongs to God and the concept of having treasures. That really stuck with me," she says.

"We were talking about materialistic things, and then I thought about my dad. He's my family, he's my treasure."

Part of the class assignment included writing in a journal after each day's class. That particular day, Madison was inspired to do more than that.

"I called my dad and told him how much I appreciate him," she says. "I told him that he is my treasure."

Madison also talked about the course and what she's been learning.

"He told me he was very proud of me. It was a wonderful conversation."

But it was the end-of-class activity that was the "cherry on the top" of Madison's Jan Term experience.

"Instead of taking a test, we actually went out with the college's gift officers to visit people who have given back to the college. Will (Jones, Vice President for External Relations and the course teacher) arranged it so Kelsey and I could meet women who'd actually played basketball here. It was so cool."

One of her favorites was Judy Greer '57, H'07.

"She was wonderful," Madison says, a grin lighting her face. "She showed us her yearbook and her varsity jacket, which was really more like a sweater than a jacket. She was part of the first basketball team here back when there weren't even boys here. She was all over the yearbook – she was Miss LaGrange, she was everything."

Madison says she wants to earn a degree in education.

"I'm not sure if I want to be an elementary teacher or a high school teacher and coach, but I do know that I want to give back. Even if I don't pursue a job in philanthropy, I definitely want to give back."

And she says it's all because of what she learned in her Jan Term course.

"Honestly, this was one of my most favorite classes I've ever taken – ever," she says. "It made me think a lot and really appreciate the things I have in my life – even my education. God gave me my education, and I'm so lucky to have it and to be here."

Friends for the Journey

LaGrange College attracts the best and the brightest from all over the world. For example, our most recent incoming class consisted of men and women from 19 states and 10 countries, and included:

  • 76 members of Beta Club or the National Honor Society
  • 71 members of service organizations
  • 51 team captains in varsity sports
  • 25 leaders involved in student government, with 11 presidents
  • Three students involved in school publications, one as editor
  • Two Eagle Scouts
  • 20 musicians in band or orchestra
  • 18 singers in choir
  • 31 entertainers in performing arts
  • 85 students in religious activities.

But you don’t have to be a star in high school to succeed at LaGrange. Here, you’re given the opportunity to discover the best in yourself and find your destiny – all in a caring and supportive environment.