Prema Samhat was at the President’s Home on March 9, waiting for a knock on the door. She was told to expect a photographer from the Old Gold and Black who would take her picture for an International Women’s Day feature.

When the knock came, Samhat was surprised to see eight people from the group of 30 she led on a tour of India in February.

Then came the real surprise.

The travelers decided to show their appreciation for the experience by making a $10,000 contribution to the William and Latika Rajpal Endowed Scholarship Fund, the scholarship Samhat established in 2017 to honor her parents.

Stacy McBride of Spartanburg suggested the idea of a gift for Samhat.

“Originally it was just going to be a nice spa day,” says McBride. “But people were really generous, and it continued to grow. Prema put a lot of time and work into making the trip an incredible experience. It wouldn’t have been half as special without her.”

Samhat was shocked and humbled by the gesture.

“I’m completely overcome,” she said after the gift was presented. “I’m just grateful they enjoyed my home country with me. That was thanks enough. But I’m so appreciative of this. This is one of the most touching things that I’ve ever experienced.”

Former Spartanburg City Councilwoman Lib Fleming says Samhat went the extra mile to make the trip special for each member of the group. She says Samhat’s reaction to the gift was especially gratifying.

“We surprised her,” Fleming says. “It was great to do that. She doesn’t seem to be one who is easily surprised.”

Samhat will lead experiences in India for Wofford alumni and friends in February 2024 and February 2025. If you are interested, email her at