Scholarship named in student’s honor

Tessa Duvall

Farhat Hamidullah didn’t take no for an answer.

“I thought she was pretty fearless,” said Andrea Ford, international student and scholar advisor at WKU, who considered Hamidullah to be like a daughter to her.

Last week, the College Heights Foundation announced the creation of an endowed scholarship in honor of Hamidullah, who died in a car wreck on Oct. 7, 2009.

Hamidullah was an international student from Afghanistan who majored in political science and international affairs. She was also president of the International Club and a Spirit Master.

Alex Downing, president of the College Heights Foundation, said the scholarship will be available to full-time students at WKU, with first preference given to students from Afghanistan.

“She would love that,” Ford said.

Hamidullah was very proud of her heritage, she said.

Ford, who has pictures of Hamidullah displayed in her office, said she was indispensable as a student worker in the International Student and Scholar Services office.

Beth Murphy, assistant director of ISSS, recalled that Hamidullah hated to walk around campus. If she had errands to run, she would wait until the end of the day so she could drive. Every morning, she would drive her car from her dorm to the ISSS office up the Hill and park in a small gravel lot nearby.

And every time, Murphy would tell Hamidullah to start walking.

One morning, Murphy looked out the window and didn’t see Hamidullah’s car.

“I’m so proud of you!” Murphy told her after she finally walked to work.

Hamidullah spoke five languages -Russian, English, Persian, Pashtu and Turkmen – and was known to take new students under her wing, Ford said.

“She lived a lot in 21 years,” Murphy said.

“More than most people,” Ford agreed.

Jasmine Bowie, a senior from Mannheim, Germany, had been Hamidullah’s friend since 2007. The two were roommates in Poland Hall at the time of the accident.

Bowie recalled that while they lived there, a girl in the dorm passed away.

Although Hamidullah didn’t know the girl personally, she wanted to cheer up the girls on her floor, so she made cake and bought pizza for everyone, Bowie said.

Bowie said it was a really big deal for Hamidullah to go to school since that opportunity wasn’t available to all women in Afghanistan.

“I think she would want to see a woman get it for sure,” Bowie said of the scholarship recipient.

Downing said he met with Hamidullah’s family in April to discuss establishing the endowed scholarship.

The first award is anticipated to be $500 for the 2011-2012 school year, Downing said.

Over time, as the fund grows, the dollar amount and number of scholarships will grow, he said.