Mount Union Community Raises More Than $38,000 to Build School Overseas

May 03, 2010

Members of the Mount Union College community, encouraged by a challenge from and in partnership with Jim and Pam Griffith of Canton, are building a school. They have collectively raised more than $38,000 for the Central Asia Institute, an organization dedicated to promoting and supporting community-based education for girls in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The organization was founded by Greg Mortenson, co-author of Three Cups of Tea and Mount Union’s 2010 Schooler Lecture speaker. Author, humanitarian, international peacemaker, former mountaineer and co-founder of two non-profit organizations, Mortenson discussed his organization’s peace efforts, and specifically his devotion to the education of girls in the Middle East, during the lecture on March 23.

Mortenson shared that it requires approximately $30,000 to build one school in the rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Griffith, president and chief executive officer of The Timken Company and a member of the Mount Union Board of Trustees, and his wife Pam pledged on that evening to match up to half of this needed funding if Mount Union could successfully launch an effort to raise the remaining $15,000. 

“By hosting Greg to share his phenomenal mission, Mount Union created a life-changing opportunity to help educate the disadvantaged children in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for the students at Mount Union to learn that it is truly possible for a single individual to change the world,” said the Griffiths.

Members of the Mount Union community raised $23,619.06, and combined with the Griffith’s $15,000, a total of $38,619.06 was donated to the Central Asia Institute to build a school in either Afghanistan or Pakistan.

“The challenge was presented to nearly 3,900 individuals that evening,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of Mount Union. “I am overwhelmed and moved by the generosity shown in support of Mortenson’s cause.”

“We are thrilled by the way this college community poured forth support to affect change. It demonstrates the beautiful difference that we stand for at Mount Union,” said the Griffiths.

Mortenson’s publication of Three Cups of Tea has graced the New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller list for more than two years, half of the time at number one. The book received the Kiriyama Peace Book Award, and was Time magazine’s 2006 “Asia Book of the Year.” Three Cups of Tea has sold more than three million copies, has been published in 34 countries and is used in more than 90 colleges and universities, including Mount Union’s LS 100 2009 summer reading assignment. It was also this year’s One Book One Community selection for the city of Alliance. Three Cups of Tea has been adapted into a young reader’s version and a children’s picture book. Mortenson’s newest book, Stones into Schools, continues where Three Cups of Tea left off and was released in December 2009.

For more information about Mortenson and his efforts, visit

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