Opening Doors for Freshmen

There was only one place Sydney Eiland ’22 wanted to be – and only one way she was going to get there: If she really wanted to go to the College of Charleston, she was going to have to find financial support. 

Fortunately, she found – and was awarded – the Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship, clearing her path to the Honors College from her native Mobile, Alabama. 

“It is because of this scholarship that I get to go to my No. 1 school,” says Eiland. “Without the generosity of the West family, that wouldn’t have been possible.” 

The Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship was established in honor of Barker West, who was a sophomore at the College when he was killed in a car accident in September 2013.  

Awarded to incoming freshmen who demonstrate leadership skills and an interest in international studies, the needs-based scholarship can be renewed for up to three additional years.  

“We cannot think of a more meaningful way to honorour sweet Barker and to keep his memory alive than to have a scholarship in his name that will assist future students at the College in achieving their educational goals,” says his mother Celeste West. “Coming to the College of Charleston certainly made an impact on Barker.” 

And his legacy is certainly impacting students like Eiland, who plans to further that impact moving forward. 

“I’m just really honored to be part of Franklin Barker West’s continuing legacy and to help make the world a better place in his honor,” says the international studies and public health double major. She hopes to become a physician’s assistant and work as a relief worker in developing countries. “The Franklin Barker West Memorial Scholarship will assist me in my journey to help change the world.” 

Her diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and fibromyalgia put Eiland on her trajectory. “Since my diagnosis, my eyes have been opened to how much pain and suffering there is in the world. I have developed my passion for helping others and pinpointed exactly how I want to aid the people of the world.” 

And, for Eiland, it all starts at the College of Charleston.  – Alicia Lutz ’98