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SEU Welcomes ‘Chewbacca Mom’ to Campus

Candace PayneCandace Payne, who has brought joy to millions around the world through her Chewbacca mask Facebook video, received an unexpected gift on Monday.

Southeastern University President Dr. Kent Ingle presented Payne with full tuition scholarships for her entire family, including her husband and two children. The presentation came during a campus visit while she was in Florida on a family vacation.

“Candace has inspired us and others with her joy, and we want her and her family to experience some of that same joy through this gift,” Ingle said.

Payne, who lives in Grand Prairie, Texas, became famous when her Facebook video of her trying on a Chewbacca mask on May 19 in her car went viral. Her laughter while putting on the mask and seeing herself on her phone was contagious. When she woke up the next morning, the video had 20 million views. In the two weeks since, the video has surpassed 150 million views and she has appeared on late night talk shows, visited the Facebook headquarters and traveled with her family to Walt Disney World.

Payne, a stay-at-home-mom, is a member of the worship team at her home church The Oaks Fellowship in Red Oaks, Texas. Southeastern’s vice president of strategic partnership, Justin Lathrop, was the founder and former leader of The Oaks School of Leadership at Payne’s home church.

“This is such an amazing gift for our family, I’m blown away,” Payne said. “I mean, my kids’ college is paid for!”

Payne has also taken the opportunity to share her Christian faith and her desire that the attention and fame she is receiving will be used to share God’s love with others.

During her visit to Southeastern, she recorded videos and took photos with Ingle and the university mascot, Scorch. The video of Payne receiving the scholarships from Ingle is available on Southeastern’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/watchSEU.