1995 Mitchell Scholar Sean Findlen (Photo by Josh Kuckens/Bates College)
As announced at the 2022 Gala, the Mitchell Institute has formed a new giving society to recognize Mitchell Scholar alumni who have followed the example of the late Truc Huynh, a remarkably gifted and altruistic Scholar alumnus who passed away at the age of 40 in mid-June of 2022. As part of his legacy of paying it forward, Truc made financial contributions to the Mitchell Institute at a level that matched and eventually surpassed the entire amount of the Scholarship award that he received in support of his education at Bowdoin College.
With his most recent gift to the Mitchell Institute this month, Sean Findlen (pictured above), the 1995 Mitchell Scholar from Fort Fairfield Middle/High School, became the 14th and newest member of the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society.
Findlen, who earned a bachelor’s in French at Bates College and a J.D. at Suffolk University Law School, said paying forward the full amount of his scholarship has been a goal since he was named a Mitchell Scholar, the year after he served on Senator Mitchell’s staff as a page in Washington, D.C.
“Nearly 30 years on, I remain ever grateful for the Mitchell Scholarship, which helped keep the cost of a college education within reach for my parents and me,” Findlen said. “The support I received from the Mitchell Institute transcended the financial realm, as I was welcomed into a lifelong community that embodies the values and ideals that make Maine so special. Senator Mitchell realized the opportunity to create a human endowment of scholars and leaders that will nourish Maine and the wider world for generations. In that same spirit, it is an honor and privilege to express my gratitude by giving back to a community that has provided so much to me over the years.”
In a recent interview with Scholars Speak Podcast host Michele Martin, the 1999 Mitchell Scholar from Scarborough High School, Findlen spoke about the importance of receiving the Mitchell Scholarship as the child of public-school music educators.
“Music can be a tough thing to get in a school budget, so my folks ended up splitting a teaching contract,” he said. “My mom taught grades K through 5, and my dad taught grades 6 through 12.”
When it was time to apply for college, “you can imagine that financial aid was a big topic of discussion in my house,” said Findlen, who is now AVP of Enterprise Communications at Unum Group in Portland. “The Mitchell Scholarship made all the difference. It was that little extra push that got me over the top, financially, and it gave my parents peace of mind as well.”
Jared Cash, President and CEO of the Mitchell Institute, thanked Findlen for his contributions to the Mitchell Institute over the years that resulted in membership in the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society.
“We are deeply grateful to Sean for making the success of current and future Mitchell Scholars a philanthropic priority and for recognizing how his contributions can help fund the vital wraparound supports that make the Mitchell Scholarship so transformative for Maine’s young people,” Cash said.
For Findlen, choosing to make contributions that match the full amount of the Scholarship is also a way to honor and sustain Senator Mitchell’s vision for Maine.
“I think that not only do we, as Mitchell Scholars, have that duty, given the gift we received from the Mitchell Institute, but I think we have a duty to Maine,” he said. “I have to imagine that part of the Senator’s vision in creating the Mitchell Scholarship was to invigorate Maine for the long term, where we work, we lead, and we give back.”
Membership in the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society can happen through a multi-year pledge, steady giving over many years, or a single gift to the Mitchell Institute. New and founding members of the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society are invited to attend an annual reception to celebrate their philanthropic commitment to supporting the Mitchell Institute. If you are interested in learning more about the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society, please contact Mitchell Institute President and CEO Jared Cash. See all members of the Truc Huynh Alumni Giving Society.