US university awards ‘Chewbacca Mom’ and family with full tuition scholarships

Being the star of a viral video not only gets you trips to Disney World, requests to be a guest on popular talk shows, and invitations to the Facebook HQ, but apparently, it can also help you win scholarships!

Candace Payne, known around the world as “Chewbacca Mom” thanks to the widely-shared video of herself laughing hysterically while wearing a Chewbacca toy mask, was offered a full tuition scholarship from a U.S. university recently.

On Monday, Southeastern University, a Christian liberal arts university in Lakeland, Florida, presented the scholarship to Payne and her family during their visit to the campus.

For a bit of lighthearted fun, the university released a video of its mascot, named Scorch, giving Payne a tour of the campus. The four-minute video shows Payne unsuccessfully attempting to make conversation with the untalkative Scorch, with amusing results…

The university’s president, Dr. Kent Ingle, said in a statement:

“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.”

Payne’s husband and two children, aged 6 and 7, were also awarded scholarships.

“If she [Payne] wants to take advantage of it, we’ll make good on our promise, even if it’s 15 or 20 years from now,” said Brian Carroll, Southeastern University’s executive vice president, reported ABC News.

Hailing from Grand Prairie, Texas, the stay-at-home mom had no idea that a simple live stream on Facebook of herself trying on a Chewbacca mask would change her life.

After the video was uploaded on May 19, it gained a life of its own – when Payne logged on to Facebook the following morning, she was shocked to see that the post had gotten 20 million views.

At the time of publishing, the video has garnered over 154 million views and been shared more than 3.3 million times.

Image via SoutheasternUniversity/Facebook.

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