‘Chewbacca mom’ and family awarded full scholarships at Southeastern University


By Zach Dennis, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

After gaining fame for her viral video, Candace Payne, also known as “Chewbacca mom,” and her family are now being offered free education at a Florida school.

WFTS reports that Southeastern University, a private Christian liberal arts school in Lakeland, announced that it would pay full tuition for Payne, her two children, and her husband to attend the school. Payne, who was vacationing in Florida with her family this week, visited the school and received a tour from its mascot, Scorch.

“How about I make this the best tour ever?” Kent Ingle, Southeastern University president, said to Payne in the video. “Since you’ve been bringing joy and laughter and great inspiration to a lot of people around the world, here at Southeastern we want to do that for you. Our gift to you is to provide you and your family full, tuition-free scholarships.”

Brian Carroll, the school’s executive vice president, told The Ledger that the visit has generated a lot of interest in the school. “My phone has been ringing off the hook,” he said. “It’s crazy. (The video) worked out really well for us and, I think, her. We’re going to make good on our word (with the scholarships). Why can’t we be (like) Oprah?”

Payne said in a news release from the school that she was excited for her family. “This is such an amazing gift for our family, I’m blown away,” she said. “I mean, my kids’ college is paid for!”

In a segment of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” she drives Corden to work, with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams in the backseat. She is also set to meet the real Chewbacca. So far, her video has been viewed more than 137 million times, which makes it the most watched Facebook Live video of all time.

Read more at WFTS and The Ledger.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter