Thank You: The Coming of Conscience Scholarship Is Fully Funded with 200+ Applicants to Date



Coming of Conscience: A character-defining personal decision or action where integrity trumps consequences.
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The tag line for my book The Fourteenth of September, which came out this fall, is “A Coming of Conscience Novel,” a designation intended to echo yet distinguish it from the typical coming of age experience. In the story, which takes place during one of the most difficult times in our country’s history—The Vietnam War—the main character, Judy Talton, is plunged into a dangerous journey of self-discovery. She ultimately makes a character-defining decision with huge ramifications for who she is and what she will become. Her dilemma parallels that of America at the time: What are we if we stay in Vietnam? Who are we if we leave?

I call her decision a “Coming of Conscience,” which I define as an issue of character—when integrity trumps consequences. One of the concerns at stake for Judy is the hard-won scholarship that is her ticket to the independent future she desperately desires.

Paying It Forward

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In the spirit of Judy’s journey, as part of the launch of The Fourteenth of September, I initiated a social giving program to fund a scholarship at Northern Illinois University, the real-life model for the fictional college in the novel. The scholarship is intended to encourage young people in today’s equally challenging times to engage in meaningful activism and bold personal responsibility. It’s to be awarded to the student who best demonstrates their understanding of what Coming of Conscience means to them, and their plan for how they will use their degree to help change the world in whatever way their beliefs guide them.

When the program was launched, I asked you to help me fund the scholarship either by sharing my posts or a photo of your copy of the novel, or by making a short video to share your own personal Coming of Conscience moment. For each involvement I donated money to the scholarship fund, and some of you also gave direct cash contributions.

I thank you so much for your participation and I’m happy to report that the $10,000 scholarship is fully funded and that there are a record-breaking 200+ applicants.

We Can STILL Change the World


Back in Judy’s day, young people spoke out and ended a war. Here in the present, we’re faced with many issues and choices… all of which have consequences, many of which involve integrity. Now more than ever, we need Coming of Conscience moments to define the character of each of us, and of our country.

The essays of the scholarship applicants speak of dreams and plans that are bold and meaningful, and I’ll share some of them in future posts. Meanwhile, thank you for your help in making those thoughts crystallize, the first step in making change happen.

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Help grow the Coming of Conscience Scholarship at Northern Illinois University and inspire more talented students toward activism and growth into their personal, social and political maturity. For information on ways to give, please call our toll-free number, 1-877-GIV-2NIU (1‑877-448-2648)