Friday, April 27, 2012

Exciting news to share!

Dear Friends, 

I wanted to share some incredible news and ask for your help.  I have been accepted into Oxford University’s International Politics Summer School 2012 and offered a place in their “Political Transformation in the Contemporary Middle East” seminar group.  This course will run from July 29th through August 11th.  The chance to study at Oxford University, one of the leading universities in the world, is a rare opportunity. 

Some of you might be asking why Oxford and why now?  There are three reasons.  First, I’m two classes away from finishing my Master’s Degree at Duke University. Second, there’re no Political Science classes available to me at Duke during the summer.  Third, some of you might be familiar with this saying - You miss 100% of the shots you never take. 

Like many colleges and universities, Duke and Oxford have study abroad relationships that allow me to take classes at Oxford – upon my acceptance into their exchange program – and have the credit and grade transfer.  While my status as a student at Duke helped, it did not guarantee I would have this opportunity.

It’s an honor to be accepted to study at Oxford University, even if it’s just one class.  But I’m going to need your help to take full advantage of this offer.  That’s why I’m reaching out to you – my family, friends, colleagues, high school, college, fraternity and political campaign alumni. 

Because this is a Study Abroad course, the cost is higher than it would be if it were at Duke.  I need to raise $4,693.80 before June 1, 2012 to cover the tuition, housing, travel, and related expenses.  While Duke has been very generous to me during the time I’ve been a student, they are limited in the financial assistance they can give me over the summer.  Below is a breakdown of the program costs, estimated travel expenses, what’s been covered and what’s left to be paid: 

Oxford International Political Summer Program 2012 - Budget

Oxford Prog Fee


Duke MALS Tuition

Air Fare


Oxford Application


Fee Paid





Text Books



Left to Pay

Just like many of you, my family and I have struggled through some tough times these last few years.  At the suggestion of my good friend Terrance Taylor, who when through the same Graduate Program at Duke, I took the shot to see if one of our nation’s top Universities would grant me admission.  They did.  Duke isn’t cheap, but they offered me a generous scholarship to make it more affordable for my family and me. 

I began my Graduate work at a time when it seemed like the best time to make a change, career wise and professionally, and with the hopes of making myself more marketable once I finished.  There’ve been bumps along the way, tight family finances, and questions if this will really help my family and me in the end.  I firmly believe it will, and by taking advantage of this opportunity to study just one class at one of the finest Universities in the world, it will be a tremendous benefit to my family, my community, and me. 

So, what would you get by helping me raise this money to go to Oxford?  Besides my heart felt and humble gratitude, I will be documenting my preparations and time at Oxford.  Upon my return, I would make myself available to come and speak about my experience.  If anyone is interested in exploring opportunities like this, I am willing to discuss what is required and what to expect once there. 

What if I am able to raise more money than is needed to cover the cost of the trip?  If this happens, then I would apply the extra money to my final semester expenses at Duke.  If I’m able to cover those expenses, I plan to “pay it forward” and through the Duke Master of Arts Liberal Studies program (MALS), help a deserving student or students defray the costs of participating in the same program. 

Again, your support of $25, $50, $100, $250, or what ever you can comfortably give will help me cover the cost of tuition, housing, travel, and related expenses at Oxford.  Please make checks payable to Barry B. Butler (on the memo line – Oxford IPSS 2012) and mail to me at 26 Grove Terrace, Rustburg, VA 24588.  Or you can give online by clicking the donate button below:  

Thank you for your support! 

Barry B. Butler 
Masters Degree Candidate
Duke University 
Graduate Liberal Studies 

P.S.  If you would like to independently confirm that I have been accepted into this program, please email Margaret Dennis, Assistant Director of Graduate Liberal Studies, at

If you would like to learn more about these programs, click on the following links:  
Oxford International Politics Summer School 2012 
Duke University’s Master of Arts Liberal Studies  



  1. Good luck, Barry! I know you will learn so much and bring it all back to share with us in the US!

  2. You rock! Thank you so much for your help and with spreading the word. I'll be posting an update this week.