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A legacy of learning

Posted August 1, 2018
Photo: Zoe Caulder Hartley and her husband Tim Hartley on their wedding day.


Zoe Caulder Hartley graduated with a B.A. in advertising in 1998. Hartley died in 2016, but her devotion to her alma mater didn’t end there. Last year, her parents, Stanley Caulder and Zoe Josephson, and brother, Mark Caulder, established an endowed scholarship in her memory to help ease the financial burden for other out-of-state students hoping to attend the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Below, her parents share more about Zoe, their family and their commitment to the University of South Carolina.

You recently established an endowed scholarship in honor of Zoe Caulder Hartley. Can you tell us a little about her and your family.
Living in Maryland, when Zoe was deciding on colleges to attend, she narrowed her focus to the warmer climates and friendly atmosphere of the southern states.  Although she already had a college frontrunner in mind, she quickly fell in love with USC the moment she set foot on the Columbia campus. From the Horseshoe, to the fantastic School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Zoe knew USC was the right fit. She was a firm believer in getting the most out of her college experience, which translated into many opportunities for school, civic and social activities that would fill her color-coded calendar.  

All of her family, including her grandparents, valued education and its transformative powers and worked very hard through college, graduate school and our professional careers to instill this love of learning to Zoe and her brother Mark. Both Zoe and Mark worked hard and were awarded scholarships to the University of South Carolina that minimized the financial burden felt by us having two students attending out-of-state colleges. This experience helped solidify our willingness to provide back to the USC community that fully embraced Zoe and Mark. 

How did Zoe’s experience in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications shape her as a person? 
Zoe entered the School of Journalism and Mass Communications as an excited teenager with her heart set on majoring in broadcast journalism in order to "become the new Connie Chung." After taking introductory classes which exposed her to all the fields that the school offered, she fell in love with advertising.

She enjoyed the challenges of her classes and was successful on being named to both the Dean's and President’s Lists. Zoe received various campus recognitions including Mortar Board and Garnet Circle, along with numerous honor societies while being an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. In April 1997, Zoe participated in the American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition which was one of the highlights of her USC education.

In spite of needing to take a medical drop her second year, she returned to USC and completed her degree, graduating with honors (cum laude). Whereas she entered the university as a bubbly teenager, she graduated a self-assured young lady interviewing with large advertising agencies in New York City. Zoe finally decided on an agency in Dallas, Texas, partially because she loved the people and weather in Columbia so much. She worked in several agencies including J. Walter Thompson before settling at Tracey Locke as a project manager and account executive. Her professors and other staff members prepared her to be successful in her chosen career of advertising. She loved her Gamecocks, which was quite evident by looking at her cubicle! 

Tell us how you came up with the idea to establish a scholarship. How do you hope this scholarship will benefit students?
Both Zoe and Mark received excellent educations at USC, which prepared them for successful careers as adults in advertising and biology/genetics. Their love of the university, as well as the close interactions and mentoring they received from their professors, made us want to show how much we appreciated what USC had done for our children.  In fact, the best way for us to show this appreciation was to endow a scholarship in our daughter’s honor, which would enable other qualified out-of-state students to receive financial aid, ease the financial burden and receive a world-class education at USC.

What would you say to someone else who may be considering honoring a loved one through an endowed scholarship? 
Knowing that education is one of the major keys to success in life and that there are so many deserving young people who cannot afford to go to college, anything you can do to decrease this burden should be considered. It seems to us that, where possible, if one can contribute to a school of higher education in the form of an endowed scholarship, you will be providing a tangible benefit to the next generation and society as a whole. In addition, you may receive, as we have, a sense of fulfillment by giving to others in a pursuit that we're passionate about and will provide great dividends for years to come.