22 May Barry Beck
Helping Build Inroads to Equal Opportunity for First-Gen Scholars
Barry Beck may be relatively new to American culture, but the FAU Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars board member is well-acquainted with the American Dream.
Born and raised in England, Beck qualified as a chartered accountant — the U.K. equivalent of a CPA — and has been involved with a number of successful startup businesses. He first encountered the issue of wealth inequality as a student in the British school system during the 1950s.
“In those days there were a lot of class divisions, and it was very difficult for minorities and low-income families to be successful,” Beck said.
England’s economy saw vast growth and improvement during the 1960s and by the start of the 1970s, the country’s social and political rhetoric began to promote the idea of a more egalitarian society where working-class people could have the same aspirations as their middle- and upper-class counterparts.
“That inspired me,” Beck explained. “Because of that, I eventually became fascinated by the concept of the American Dream — that anyone can be successful.”
Now a full-time Florida resident of five years, Beck is proud to be an FAU Kelly/Strul Emerging Scholars donor and board member, having personally identified with the program’s mission. The comprehensive network of support it provides for students is what he sees as one of its most valuable assets.
“Kelly/Strul has put together an incredible team,” Beck said. “They are committed, capable and confident, and this program is carefully planned so that when students come in, they’re provided with the opportunity to succeed on their own initiative.”
Beck highlighted the structure of the program as one of its strengths, which involves a progression of personalized mentorship development that shifts from assimilating students to college life to eventually preparing them with field-specific, career-development training and guidance.
“This team is going to give these kids the very best chance of succeeding,” said Beck. “Each student can be an ambassador and an inspiration to the people around them. It’s a very exciting project and is so important in today’s world.”