NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Cynthia Ericson: Helping Others
After spending the 1980-1981 academic year at BBC, Cynthia Ericson can attest to the powerful influence the experience had on the rest of her life.
The West Chester, PA, resident is the founder and owner of Ericson Strategic Marketing Solutions. The company aids clients in achieving their business development goals.
Cynthia, along with her family, created the Stephen Chandler Ericson Foundation in memory of her brother, whom God called to Heaven at a young age. The foundation awards scholarships to high school students for their freshman year of college or trade school.
BBC had a lasting impact on Cynthia in her time on campus, providing her solid footing for the rest of her life through academics, relationships with staff and faculty, and residence hall life.
Read more In the Spotlights here.
What led you to BBC&S?
I attended the West Chester Christian School from ninth to twelfth grade and really enjoyed the Christian environment and fellowship. When deciding upon where to go for my freshman year, BBC was a natural fit. Several of my high school classmates were already there or were planning to attend in 1980. BBC will always be a precious experience to me because of the friendships. I have been blessed to have relationships that have lasted my lifetime and I know will always be a part of my family.
What was most challenging about your transition to college?
I missed my family so much. The initial separation the first semester was really difficult for me. I remember when my family took me to settle in, being in my room, and looking out the window at my brother and sister playing in the field below. Part of me did not want to move forward with the next step in my life because it meant that separation from being with them every day. I knew this was the normal progression, but it was heart breaking for me to leave my family. My brother Stephen went home to be with the Lord on September 19, 1984 - only four months after I came back home after graduation. God always has love and tenderness in mind for us. I have often thought perhaps my being away those four years was God's way of helping me cope with the loss we were about to face.
What program were you in?
My intention was to spend my freshman year at BBC and then complete my education at Widener University, which I did, graduating in 1984. My career goal at the time was political science and law school. I went on to complete my degree in political science/pre-law and had two internships - in the United States Congress, specializing in foreign affairs, and a marketing internship. After graduation, I was hired by National Liberty Corp. and began my marketing career as an assistant program manager.
Who or what influenced you the most at BBC?
The friendships I formed were very special to me. We were all searching and evaluating different paths for the future. It was a great comfort to walk through those life moments with some amazing ladies that are in my life to this day. The professors were dynamic and caring and you always felt special.
What is the Stephen Chandler Ericson Foundation?
The Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship Fund was founded in 1984 in memory of my brother Stephen. It was a Friday and a soccer game day when Stephen was running to score a goal. Lightning came from the heavens and he was struck. We were blessed to have him with us for five days before God called him home.
The accident received national media attention and people from all over began to reach out to my family expressing condolences and inquiries about donations in his honor and memory. Our mother and father, Laura Chandler Ericson and Joseph H. Ericson Jr., decided to establish the Stephen Chandler Ericson Scholarship Fund, with a gift awarded annually to a senior at the West Chester Christian School. The first scholarship was awarded in May 1985 and continues to this day. We created the Stephen Chandler Ericson Foundation in December 2010 and are working on a capital campaign to create a perpetual fund by 2015, the 30th anniversary of the first scholarship.
Why gifts for the first year of college?
Stephen enjoyed eight years at the West Chester Christian School and his plan was to continue his education with a college degree. The goal of Stephen's fund is to help a student, each year, with their freshman year of college or trade school. We believe education is a fundamental part in building a solid foundation for a young person's future and to honor Stephen's memory with a donation is a wonderful beginning.
What kind of role does your faith play in your business and ministry?
It is every moment. I believe we all have times when we are closer to the Lord than others, and I am thankful to say that in the last few years, especially, I have grown as close as I have ever been. It is a great blessing in my life. When I work with people, whether in Ericson Strategic Marketing Solutions, the radio shows, Stephen's foundation, or the Greater West Chester Sunrise Rotary Club, I try to treat people like I were talking to Christ. I was challenged in my couples' Bible study group about viewing everyone as if they were Christ and I have to say it really changes how you work with others.
How has your BBC education helped you reach your career goals?
BBC helped provide a foundation for my life. I was keenly aware the years following BBC would be dramatically different for me and a part of me did not want to leave. When I started at Widener University, it was culture shock, but I adjusted and loved it in a different way from BBC. I remember walking on Widener's campus one evening hearing the bells from Old Main and for a moment I was back at BBC hearing the chapel bells and thinking it was a different life here and wondering where I belonged. Widener afforded me tremendous opportunities. It is wonderful now that many colleges like BBC provide a great diversity in academics for any career path.
How is your family?
My parents are doing very well and we are very close. In 2006, I was blessed to re-connect with Gary Stephen Beideman. We grew up on the same street, swam on the Roslyn Swim Team, and reconnected at the 50-year reunion of the Roslyn Swim Club. Two weeks later we had lunch and six months later we were engaged. We were married in July 2007. God really does provide and the best example of this is sending me my precious husband. He is a good Christian man with a great and tender heart. God is amazing!
The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit www.bbc.edu/yourstory.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on-campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students go beyond the ordinary, learning to learn and serve with excellence as they gain critical leadership and life skills.
To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.
Posted on: 6/8/2011 9:38:27 AM