The Class of 1957 Endowed Scholarship Fund
Established in 2007 to benefit students who have academic merit and financial need, and who demonstrate involvement in service to school, church, or home communities.
Recipient 2013-14: Alhaj Khadar
Recipient 2012-13: Gregory Cooke
Recipient 2011-12: Gregory Cooke
Gregory Cooke '13, from Bowie, Maryland, is majoring in biology and chemistry and volunteers his time tutoring and working with an ambulance company. Gregory plans to attend medical school. "Hopefully I will be able to fulfill this dream and be able to exercise my two great passions for science and helping others."
After graduation, the members of this class began careers and families in the tumultuous, changing world of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Viet Nam War. They waited patiently during the gas crisis to have enough fuel in their cars to shuttle their children to baseball practices, dance classes, and swim practices.
Now, most are retired or considering retirement, and some are embarking on new careers. Each has followed her own path, but they share a history, a first-rate education, and a rare experience that was and is St. Mary's.
"All of us just love St. Mary's," said Patricia Flanagan Arthur, one of the class reunion representatives. "It's dear to our heart. We stayed in touch with each other over the years and as we came around the bend each year for Reunion, we watched the College grow. We did a lot of crazy things and important things at St. Mary's. Now, we wanted to do something special for the school."
To accomplish that something special for their 50th Reunion, four women from the class -- Kay Wood Bailey in Delaware, Pat Arthur in Maryland, Carol Gross Galloway in North Carolina and Ellen Ascherfeld Nesbitt in Oregon - began working with Paula Mitchell, the College's director of major gifts.
"At our graduation in 1957, it was the traditional class gift to plant a rose bush in the Garden of Remembrance," said Ellen. "When we met at our 45th Reunion, we discussed what we could do. The thought was, 'Can we do more that just a rose bush?' I believe we have." At that Reunion five years ago, the Class of 57 formulated a plan to establish the first class scholarship at St. Mary's.
"Offering a student a scholarship meant a great deal to all of us, and especially to me," said Carol. "I received a scholarship to attend St. Mary's and appreciated it so much. I was an only child and grew up out in the country. My family didn't travel around much to see people - it's not like today where you can get in your car and go. And when I got to St. Mary's, it was absolutely wonderful: I had so many sisters."
On Saturday, June 8, 2007, at their 50th Reunion, the Class of 57 presented a check to College President, 1996-2009 Maggie O'Brien for The Class of 1957 Endowed Scholarship Fund. There is currently over $26,000 in the fund. Pretty impressive for a class with only 49 active members. Ellen recounts, "Many of us who had received a state senatorial scholarship (which included tuition, room and board) would not have had the opportunity to attend college without that aid. We all believe that education is of primary importance no matter if one becomes a teacher, a mother, or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company ."
The first scholarship will be awarded for the 2008-09 academic year to a first-year student who is a high achiever and may not receive a merit award, and whose family or personal financial support falls short of covering the full cost of a St. Mary's education. The successful recipient must also demonstrate service to school, church, or home community by his/her involvement in extracurricular activities. The scholarship, awarded through the financial aid office, is renewable provided the student maintains a 2.75 GPA.
"I was so proud that we can help," said Pat. "I was pleased that my class could come together to establish this scholarship."
What advice would they give to another class interested in establishing a class scholarship? "Plan ahead," Ellen recommends. "We worked on this for five years. Work closely with the college. And most of all, be passionate about the project."