Our Donors

Barbara (Hickey) ’57 O’Brien Scholarship

Barbara (Hickey) ’57 O’Brien Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual Tuition Award) The Barbara (Hickey) ’57 O’Brien Scholarship will be awarded to a student majoring in Education who exemplifies the qualities of hard work and determination. Applicants must submit the following: • Evidence that they maintain a full- or part-time job while pursuing a college degree; • A letter of recommendation and a personal essay attesting to their high level of maturity, perseverance and industriousness. (Please send an original letter to the Financial Aid Office in Room 150 the Shaughnessy Administration Building.) It should be noted that this scholarship will not be automatically renewed and applicants are encouraged to reapply each academic year.

Barbara (Hickey) O’Brien ’57 has a distinguished record of generous support of Worcester State University. She and her husband, Robert O’Brien ’58, previously established four memorial scholarships at the University in honor of their parents. With this current scholarship, Mrs. O’Brien has created yet another source of support for students at her alma mater.

During her college days, Mrs. O’Brien worked as a cashier and bookkeeper at Walgreen’s on Main Street in Worcester, a job she remembers fondly because of the “wonderful people” with whom she came in contact. Following graduation, she embarked on a 34-year career in the Worcester Public Schools. Mrs. O’Brien first taught at the elementary level and then went on to be a special education teacher. Before retiring in 1991, Mrs. O’Brien concluded her career as Worcester’s CORE chairperson, where she was responsible for overseeing the city’s special education program in various schools.

The mother of two children, Mrs. O’Brien says that she chose a career in education because she “always loved school.” However, Mrs. O’Brien acknowledges that teaching is a challenging profession. “It’s one of the few careers where you become all things to the children you’re with all the time,” she says. “You become parent, counselor, and social worker as well as teacher.’

Mrs. O’Brien, who earned a master’s degree in education from Boston College in 1977, noted that Worcester State prepared her well for the classroom. “My education at Worcester State was excellent,” she says. “It taught me how to stop and think. That is the greatest gift knowledge can give. The whole point of a college education is to learn how to think logically.”

Mrs. O’Brien’s scholarship is established to support Education majors who display “a degree of industry.” “I value hard work and determination,” she notes, “and I want to help students who share those values.”

With the establishment of this scholarship, Mrs. O’Brien is also sharing another core value – generosity. “My mother always talked about reciprocating good will,” she says. “I hope that today’s students will continue that custom later in their own careers.”

Christopher Blair Erickson Memorial Scholarship

Christopher Blair Erickson Memorial Scholarship

($500 Annual Award) The Christopher Blair Erickson Memorial Scholarship is awarded to a sophomore, junior or senior who best meets the following criteria:

Holds a grade point average of 3.0 or above
Participates in extracurricular or community service activities
Demonstrates a strong sense of personal responsibility and team spirit

Provides references detailing leadership and self-reliance
Applicants must submit a short essay detailing their strong sense of personal responsibility and team spirit.

Christopher Blair Erickson grew up in Holden and graduated from Wachusett Regional High School in 2003. He played football for both Wachusett Regional High School and Massachusetts Maritime.

His Wachusett coach, Mike Dubzinski, said Chris was instrumental in creating a new football culture at the high school and was a wonderful role model to his fellow players. He also said Chris began a tradition of high school players going on to serve as college football captains. Chris’s jersey number was 76 at both schools.

He was also an outstanding student and enjoyed mentoring other students. He enjoyed scouting and attained the rank of Eagle Scout with a project on the Wachusett Greenways Rail Trail.

He received the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship and graduated magna cum laude from Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Marine Engineering and a United States Coast Guard license as a third assistant engineer. He received the Maersk Lines Ltd. Award upon his graduation, awarded to the cadet “demonstrating the qualities of effort and leadership most desired in a seagoing officer.”

At Massachusetts Maritime, he served as Cadet Chief Engineer and 2006 Football Team Captain, and he was a four-year football letter winner and a three-year offensive line starter.

Funny, gentle, down-to-earth and devoted to his family, Chris was a wonderful young man. His laughter made everyone around him smile. He was kind and approached everything with good humor. Chris’ life showed great promise.

He was tragically killed on January 7, 2009, in Houston, Texas, in a work-related accident while serving on the Sea River tanker SR Wilmington.

His family would like to honor Christopher’s memory by awarding a $500 scholarship in his memory for a deserving Worcester State University student who exemplifies academic excellence and leadership in the university community.

Class of 1953 Endowed Scholarship

Class of 1953 Endowed Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual In-State Tuition) The Class of 1953 Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a full-time undergraduate student majoring in Education in a program leading to teacher certification in Massachusetts. The student must demonstrate financial need and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. They must provide details of their need for this award in their essay that accompanies their application.

In gratitude for the quality of life made possible to them as graduates of Worcester State University, the Class of 1953 Endowed Scholarship has been established on the occasion of their fiftieth reunion.

The Class of 1953 was one of the earliest to welcome back World War II veterans under the G.I. Bill of Rights. This factor added a unique dimension to the make-up of their undergraduate student body.

Though small in number, the members of this class made their mark in various levels of the educational field; in classroom teaching, school administration, college instruction, as well as private enterprise and corporate business. Six doctoral degrees were earned by class members from outstanding graduate institutions based upon preparation made at Worcester State University.

With this scholarship award, the class hopes to pass on a flicker from the lamp of learning that embodies the spirit of Worcester State University and the Class of 1953.

Class of 1958 Endowed Scholarship

Class of 1958 Endowed Scholarship

Criteria: (Two Awards Equal to Full Annual Tuition) The intent of the Class of 1958 Scholarships is to extend a “helping hand” through financial assistance to the recipients. The recipients may be incoming freshmen or present students working their way through Worcester State University. Preference will be given, but not limited to, relatives of a Worcester State graduate from the Class of 1958. The applicants must have a GPA of 2.75 or better and must include an essay expressing why they should be the recipients of this scholarship.

On October 28, 2002, twelve members from the Class of 1958 gathered at the University to begin the planning of their 45th reunion celebration. From the initial meeting, there was a clear sense of excitement in the room and a special camaraderie existed amongst the committee members, even though some had not returned to campus nor seen one another since their graduation. Classmates picked up right where they had left off, forty-five years earlier!

During one of the meetings, the committee discussed what type of gift they would like to present to the University’s president in honor of their 45th reunion. After much thought, the committee set a goal and challenged their classmates to come forward with donations which would enable their class to establish an endowed scholarship. As committee members reminisced about all of the great times and wonderful professors they had at Worcester State, they thought that perhaps they would name the scholarship for: Dr. Busam, Dr. Foster, Miss Wilmarth, Mr. Eager, Dr. Barlow, Dr. Shaw or Dr. Morris. The suggestions were endless! There were so many favorites that ultimately, if successful, the name of the scholarship would be The Class of 1958 Endowed Scholarship. Never before in the history of the University had this goal been realized! The campaign began!

Reunion Weekend arrived and at their class dinner on June 7, 2003, it was announced that the class had not yet met their goal. The disappointment in the room was short lived, however, as one of the members of the class stepped up to the microphone and extended a challenge: he would match up to $5,000 if the class could bring in the additional funds! The enthusiasm was palpable! The Class of 1958 embraced the challenge and succeeded in establishing the first endowed scholarship on behalf of a reunion class! The class followed this historic gift with an encore presentation at its 50th reunion in 2008. Once again, an announcement was made at the class dinner that the class was very close to endowing a second scholarship. Class members responded ardently with more gifts in the following weeks, and the class reached its goal!

The precedent has been set, and the Class of 1958 is now an example of what each reunion class can accomplish. How wonderful it would be if students today and in the future could continue to receive scholarships given by alumni who preceded them. Congratulations and sincere gratitude to all of the members of the Class of 1958 who helped realize these goals!

Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship

Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual In-State Tuition) The Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship is awarded to a sophomore, junior or senior majoring in Education. Applicants must be residents of Massachusetts and have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Preference will be given, but not limited, to relatives of a Worcester State graduate from the Class of 1961. Applicants must provide a 500-word essay expressing why they should be the recipients of this scholarship along with their application.

As a tangible expression of their deep appreciation for the education they received at Worcester State University, members of the Class of 1961 are delighted to create this endowed scholarship in honor of their 50th reunion.

Members of the reunion planning committee, in particular, believe it is a way to honor Worcester State’s heritage as a university of that provides high-quality education to students who work hard in and out of the classroom.

There was no such thing as a flexible, full-time course schedule or a part-time program in the late 1950s and early 1960s. So many in the class went to work after spending their entire day in classes as well as held weekend jobs. The veterans in the class, most of whom had served in the Korean War, went to full-time jobs when classes ended at four o’clock—or five o’clock if they had a lab—in order to provide for their families.

A small number of scholarships existed then, and that financial assistance enabled Class of 1961 recipients to continue pursuing their dream of a college degree.

With degrees in teaching in hand, class members found they could find work as teachers anywhere in the United States. They recognize now how well Worcester State prepared them for their professional success.

The impetus for this scholarship was the generosity of the Class of 1961 that members of the reunion planning committee never imagined was possible. Now the legacy of the class’s hardworking members will forever inspire recipients to continue undaunted until they reach their academic goals.

Class of 2003 Student Leader Scholarship

Class of 2003 Student Leader Scholarship

Criteria: ($500 per year) The Class of 2003 Student Leader Scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student who is ardently involved with campus activities. The applicant should provide a brief essay describing his or her involvement as a leader on the Worcester State University campus. Preference will be given, but not limited to, a student in his/her junior or senior level of study.

The Class of 2003 has earned the distinction of establishing the first scholarship for student leaders at Worcester State University. Recognizing the need to encourage and support student leaders, the Class of 2003 established a Student Leader Scholarship with a class gift of nearly $10,000.

Class President Monica Labbe noted, “Student leaders make tremendous contributions to campus life in a variety of ways. Although much of their work goes on ‘behind the scenes,’ they improve the college experience for many of their fellow students. They help organize events, represent students’ concerns to the administration, and serve as a link between students and the greater college community. We felt that these unsung heroes deserve special recognition.”

Although many scholarships support academic excellence, this scholarship is specifically designed to support students who are involved in campus activities and give of their time and energy to improve the college experience for classmates.

Thanks to the creativity and foresight of the Class of 2003, future generations of WSU student leaders will receive recognition and support for their hard work on behalf of their fellow students.

Class of 2011 Student Leader Scholarship

Class of 2011 Student Leader Scholarship

Criteria: ($400 Annual Award) The Class of 2011 Student Leader Scholarship shall be awarded to a sophomore, junior, or senior student who possesses a 2.5 GPA, demonstrates financial need, and is an avid student leader on the Worcester State University campus by holding a leadership position, including, but not limited to, being an elected class officer, a member of the student senate, a student club officer, or an academic club officer. The applicant should provide a 500-word essay describing his or her leadership experience at WSU. Preference will be given to a student who is employed during the academic year.

Through this scholarship, the 2011 class officers recognize the tremendous amount of effort and dedication it takes to become and remain an actively involved student leader at Worcester State University.

The class officers—President Ashley Bornstein, Vice President Elizabeth Bitar, Treasurer Julie Camerano, and Secretary Bethany (Fiske) Shea—understand that these students have to balance classes and jobs in addition to holding a leadership position in one of the student organizations.

“There may be student leaders who feel overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities, and this scholarship will give them the means and motivation to continue in their role,” Bitar explains. “The contribution they make to student life on campus is invaluable.”

This is the university’s third student-leader scholarship and is among a growing number of scholarships that support student leadership and involvement in campus life.

Davis Advertising Scholarship in Honor of Marion and Leonard Davis

Davis Advertising Scholarship in Honor of Marion and Leonard Davis

Criteria: (Two $1,000 awards) The Davis Advertising Scholarship in Honor of Marion and Leonard Davis will be awarded to two students majoring in Communications who exemplify the qualities of hard work and determination. It should be noted that this scholarship will not be automatically renewed and applicants are encouraged to reapply each academic year.

Andy Davis, a member of the Worcester State Foundation and owner of Davis Advertising in Worcester, has established a scholarship in honor of his parents, Marion (Cohen) and Leonard Davis.

Marion and Leonard Davis grew up in Worcester and graduated from Commerce High School. Leonard, an astute businessman, became a sales manager for a Providence, Rhode Island, radio station. His work brought him into contact with the numerous ad agencies in the area and before long he decided that there was room for a good ad agency in Worcester. He and Marion rented a room at 274 Main Street and set up shop in 1949. They paid themselves fifteen dollars a week.

The couple originally focused on radio ads, with Marion doing the writing and Leonard taking care of accounts. Before long, however, they had two non-radio clients: Molly Stark Furniture in Vermont and Baker Box in Worcester. They hired an artist and their business continued to grow.

In time, Marion, who had always enjoyed writing, expanded her role to become a radio personality. Using the name “Sheila Dix”, she became a well-known hostess for live broadcasts of store openings and other public relations events. The agency expanded in yet another direction when it began managing the Worcester Home Show in the 1960s. The company had done the advertising for the event for many years, but when the opportunity to organize and manage it came up, Leonard didn’t hesitate to take on the responsibility.

Leonard passed away in 1977, and Marion retired in 1979. But the couple’s multi-faceted communications enterprise continues to grow and prosper under the guidance of their sons. Jeffrey Davis, M.Ed. ’71, who worked in the agency for many years, manages Expo Management, which runs many popular events. Philip publishes several highly regarded local newspapers. And Andy owns and operates Davis Advertising, Worcester’s largest ad agency. Employing more than 25 people and servicing more than 60 clients, the agency has handled advertising for Worcester State University for many years.

Andy established this scholarship “to encourage and support individuals who want to work in communications – and as a tribute to my parents, who proved that with good ideas and hard work almost anything is possible.”

Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Boger Endowed Scholarship

Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Boger Endowed Scholarship

Criteria: The Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Boger Endowed Scholarship will be awarded annually to an outstanding junior majoring in Biology who shows outstanding potential for graduate studies and career success. The qualified candidates will be goal oriented, have demonstrable financial need and have shown leadership on campus, either to the Biology Department or the WSU community as a whole.
Professor Emeritus Edwin Boger, Ph.D., and his wife, Margaret Boger, devoted most of their professional lives to educating students – he as a professor in WSU’s Biology Department, she as a nurse educator in hospitals and colleges.

Now in retirement, the couple continue to make a difference in students’ lives through the
Dr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Boger Endowed Scholarship.

The Bogers cite their deep affection for Worcester State and a desire to give back as reasons for creating the scholarship. “I spent my teaching career at Worcester State and really enjoyed every semester,” noted Dr. Boger. “It was very rewarding to see my students grow and have a part in their lives.”

Dr. Boger was committed to giving students a strong foundation in biology, but he also enjoyed lighter moments in the classroom. For example, he became known for never wearing the same tie twice during an academic year. One of his ties – a gift from students – was six-feet long. When he unbuttoned his jacket, the neatly knotted tie would unroll to the floor. “Students always got a laugh out of that,” he chuckled.

He also recalls his refusal to sign a withdrawal slip for a nontraditional student who doubted her ability to succeed in his class. “She graduated with honors and thanked me for encouraging her to continue,” he said. “Helping students succeed meant a lot to me.”

Teaching was a second career for Dr. Boger. Raised in Rhode Island, the first child of German immigrants, he followed in his father’s footsteps and entered a jewelry production shop after high school. He became a journeyman toolmaker skilled at many phases of tools, chain machines, and molds for plastics.

When he decided to go to college, he earned degrees from Valparaiso University, the University of Connecticut, and Clark University and was still an undergraduate when he met a young nursing educator from Ohio named Margaret Pacey on a blind date. The couple have been married more than 50 years.

Dr. Boger’s tenure at Worcester State coincided with a period of tremendous growth at the institution. When he started teaching in 1968, all WSU students were education majors and the biology curriculum contained only enough courses to fulfill requirements for certification as a secondary level biology teacher. In the 1990s, biology became a separate department and Dr. Boger was appointed chair.

When the Ghosh Center for Science and Technology opened in 2000, Dr. Boger worked with department faculty to develop a comprehensive list of lab equipment that would be needed to maximize learning opportunities in the new facility. Under his leadership, the new biology labs were well equipped for high level research and instruction.

Dr. Boger, however, never taught in the state-of-the-art facility. “I decided that since I had to pack up my office for the move, it would be a good time to retire,” he said. But his connection with Worcester State remains strong. In addition to their financial support, he and Mrs. Boger enjoy attending campus functions and staying in touch with colleagues. They also take satisfaction in knowing that they are helping students.

“We both received assistance with our education,” noted Dr. Boger, “and we are pleased that we are now in a position to assist others.”

Dr. Joshua Unuigboje “Oje” Aisiku Scholarship

Dr. Joshua Unuigboje “Oje” Aisiku Scholarship

Criteria: (One $1,000 Award) The Dr. Joshua Unuigboje “Oje” Aisiku Scholarship will be awarded to a minority student in his or her senior year in the Middle/Secondary Education program who has a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a strong interest in teaching in the Worcester public school system. When no undergraduate qualifies in any given year, this award may be opened to graduate students enrolled in Education programs.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Joshua Unuigboje “Oje” Aisiku’s constant scrutiny of the Education Department’s curriculum plans during his 24 years of service ensured their high level of integrity. Likewise, his students benefited from his expectation that they learn to develop child-centered curriculum and instruction techniques
Professor Aisiku, who was affectionately known as Dr. OJ, brought to the Worcester State University faculty a broad teaching background and extensive administrative experience at the university level. He pioneered the establishment of the College of Education (as founding Rector) at Bendel State University (now Ambrose Alli University) in Ekpoma, Nigeria. He is an accomplished researcher, writer, and speaker with strong devotion to the teaching profession and the training of teachers.

Dr. OJ attended the University of Ife in Ile-Ife, Nigeria, where he graduated top in his class with a B.A. in Education (Hons) degree in 1971 and earned the Fafunwa Award for having the best score in the B.A./B.S. education examinations. He received his master’s degree in Curriculum and Supervision in 1974 and doctorate in Education in 1975 from Cornell Universiy.

Dr. OJ earned fellowships for post-doctoral programs at the University of Manchester (1980) and the University of London (1981). He taught in universities in his home country of Nigeria from 1975 to 1984 and was an adjunct professor in Secondary Education at Hofstra University in New York from October 1984 to August 1985 before joining the WSU faculty in the Education Department in August 1985. He was appointed a faculty fellow in the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (1995 – 1996), and for over ten years, he was the coordinator and advisor for the Graduate Middle/Secondary Education program.

Dr. OJ retired in May 2009 to take an appointment as the founding President of a new private university, Chrisland Millennium University in Abeokuta/Owode, Ogun State, Nigeria. Dean of Education Elaine (Sharistanian) Tateronis ’63, M.Ed. ’74, Ed.D., established this scholarship fund in honor of Dr. OJ’s retirement. She kept it a secret from him, and he was incredibly moved when she announced it at his retirement reception. Dr. OJ spoke warmly of Worcester State being his extended family and his hope that he can remain connected with the University.

He is married to Brenda and the couple has four children. He is a Christian and was ordained a Deacon in Emmanuel Baptist Church in Worcester.

Dr. Melvin & Shirley (Stahl) Merken Two Cultures Annual Scholarship

Dr. Melvin & Shirley (Stahl) Merken Two Cultures Annual Scholarship

Criteria: ($750 annual award) The Dr. Melvin and Shirley (Stahl) Merken Two Cultures Annual Scholarship will be awarded to a junior or senior excelling in science who bridges the scientific and humanistic cultures through participation in theatrical, literary or athletic pursuits or service to the University or wider community.

Worcester State University Professor Emeritus of Chemistry Melvin Merken, Ed.D., and his wife, Shirley ’96, established the Two Cultures Scholarship to recognize students who bridge the scientific and humanistic cultures. Students applying for this scholarship should excel in science and participate in theatrical, literary, or athletic pursuits or service to the University or wider community.

Dr. Merken, who chaired the Chemistry, Chemistry and Physics, and Natural and Earth Science departments during his long career, has earned many awards over a distinguished career. He combines enjoyment of art, music, literature, bike riding, and tennis with his love of science. His textbook, Physical Science with Modern Applications, has gone through five editions and is a standard in colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Mrs. Merken, who holds an associate’s degree from Boston University, earned a bachelor’s degree in English from WSU. The couple also support and hold offices in various charitable and cultural causes.

“We both grew up in households where money just about covered the basics,” notes Dr. Merken, “so we know how difficult it is for many students to find the means to fund their college education. We wanted to help such students, and have found it especially rewarding to do so in a way that recognizes the compatibility of science and the humanities.”

At the time this scholarship was established, Thomas McNamara ’94, vice president of Institutional Advancement, noted “It’s wonderful to see a faculty member and an alumna provide this scholarship for our students. Dr. and Mrs. Merken support Worcester State in so many ways. This is just the latest example of their incredible generosity.”

 Dr. Rose D. Haroian Endowed Scholarship

Dr. Rose D. Haroian Endowed Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to Full In-State Tuition) The Dr. Rose D. Haroian Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a junior with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and a record of service to the college and/or community. The student must demonstrate a desire to continue his or her education in the field of speech/language and hearing.

The late Dr. Rose D. Haroian, a professor at Worcester State University from 1967 to 1979, was the founder of the University’s highly successful Communication Disorders Clinic, now the Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic. The clinic serves the entire Central Massachusetts area in providing diagnostic and therapeutic services in speech, language, and hearing for people of all ages. Upon her retirement, she received the University’s Professor Emeritus Award and a memorial plaque in her honor was installed in the clinic. Additionally, she was recognized for her achievements in the 1984 edition of Who’s Who of American Women.

A spirited, independent woman who served in the Navy during World War II, Dr. Haroian earned her undergraduate degree from Marietta College and a master’s degree from Boston University, where she validated the Mansur Speech Sound Discrimination Test (now the Boston University Speech Sound Discrimination Test), which has been used throughout the nation in early childhood education. She went on to earn a doctorate in Education Administration from Boston College, where she created the Haroian Early Language Picture Test for deaf children.

Her interests were varied. She worked as a speech and hearing therapist in the Worcester Public Schools. She was a writer for Digital Equipment Corporation, where she was on the team that wrote the original drafts of the “All-In-One” Computer Office Automation Software Program that was used in major government and business institutions throughout the U.S. She was also an adjunct instructor at Quinsigamond Community College, where she developed a genocide course and partnered programs and film presentations dealing with the Armenian genocide.

An accomplished writer, Dr. Haroian contributed articles to magazines including Business Weekly and Health and Nutrition, and was a contributing editorial writer for the Senior Advocate, a free newspaper published in Worcester with a distribution of over 100,000 readers. She also contributed articles to Ararat, a quarterly magazine published in New York. One of the articles, Pieces of Glass, was a loving tribute to her father.

The mother of two children, Dr. Haroian was highly esteemed by her students and colleagues at Worcester State University. A colleague wrote, “She was a long time faculty member who contributed in so many ways to the life of the College.” In 2002, just months prior to her death, she established the first scholarship for students majoring in Communication Disorders at the University.

Drs. Anna B. Cohen and Susan V. Rezen Scholarship

Drs. Anna B. Cohen and Susan V. Rezen Scholarship

The University’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders was guided through its formative years by three remarkable professors: Dr. Anna B. Cohen, who joined the faculty in 1973, Dr. Maryann H. Power, who joined in 1979, and Dr. Susan V. Rezen, whose appointment followed in 1980. All three women used their vision, intellect, and commitment to help shape the academic program that would prepare hundreds of students for meaningful and satisfying careers.

With funding from a Massachusetts State Dept. of Education grant, Dr. Cohen co-founded the Collaborative Preschool Language Program which was a joint venture between the University and several local school districts. The program was housed on campus for many years before moving into the Wachusett Regional School District. The program became a model for preschool language programs throughout the state. It provided services to many children with communication disorders and served as a clinical experience for numerous CD students. Additionally, Dr. Cohen received a substantial three year grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education. The purpose of the grant was to train speech-language pathology students in the diagnosis and treatment of the communication problems experienced by children and adolescents with autism. Dr. Cohen also created a flexible master’s degree program to help students realize their dreams of becoming speech-language pathologists.

As Dr. Cohen developed the speech-language pathology program, Dr. Rezen developed the hearing aspect so that students could go on for graduate degrees in audiology. Both were department chairpersons as well as graduate coordinators for many years.

Following Dr. Cohen’s retirement from Worcester State University in 1999, the Mass. Speech, Language and Hearing Association awarded her a second Distinguished Service Award and the WSC Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders created a scholarship fund to perpetuate her legacy. In 2007, Dr. Rezen who will retire in 2008 contributed the remaining monies needed to fully endow the fund.

Dr. Rezen, a professor of audiology, has earned a reputation as an exceptional teacher whose commitment to her students reaches far beyond the classroom. Her commitment was most visibly demonstrated in 2004, when she became the first sitting faculty member to create an endowed scholarship at the University. The Victor and Angelia Rezen Memorial Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Dr. Rezen’s parents, is also the University’s first graduate-level scholarship and the first established specifically for students in the Speech-Language Pathology program.

In addition to funding scholarships, Dr. Rezen’s philanthropy has been far-reaching. She has quietly assisted many individual students over the years and has supported a number of campus environmental initiatives. To provide hearing tests and hearing aid assistance to the needy, she established a hearing clinic at Wesley United Methodist Church as part of the Worcester Evening Free Medical Program. She conducts hearing screenings in public schools, partly as training for WSC students and partly as a service to the community. She also runs the WSC Audiology Clinic, which provides free evaluations to the community. And she has served as a volunteer consultant and lecturer in various parts of the world including South Africa, England, China, Peru, and Singapore.

Dr. Rezen says her philanthropy stems partly from altruism and partly from the fact that giving “makes me feel really good. When I know I’ve made a difference in students’ lives, that’s more precious than anything,” she said.

Dr. Rezen’s generous spirit is perhaps best captured in a quotation from George Eliot, which she keeps posted on a bulletin board in her office: “What do we live for if it’s not to make life less difficult for each other?”

Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach Memorial Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equivalent to Full Annual Tuition) The Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a student who has financial need and a demonstrated passion for social justice. Preference will be given to women of color.

The late Dr. Sarah E. Sharbach began teaching history at Worcester State University in the fall of 1999. She enlivened her department with courses in Latin and Native American Studies as well as traditional courses in U.S. history. Reaching out to students, she taught them to understand the oppression that our native cultures have faced. She revealed the perspective of the oppressed and helped students to move beyond simplistic notions of Native and Latin Americans, women, and the indigenous people of Central and South America and the Caribbean. Her students respected her for the gentle way she challenged them to have a deeper understanding of issues of social justice. She stressed the importance of nuance, subtlety and complexity by bringing to light marginalized discourses and helping students to understand fully the contests over who gets to interpret history.

Dr. Sharbach earned a Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Seattle. As a scholar, her book Stereotypes of Latin America, Press Images, and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1920-1933 (Modern American History New Studies and Outstanding Dissertations) was important in highlighting the ways in which negative images of Latin Americans are perpetuated by the media. She visited the Hyde Park home and archives of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and collected material for a work on the Roosevelt administration’s relations with Cuba.

Dr. Sharbach’s service to the community was exemplary. During her time at Worcester State, she initiated a number of events on human rights abuses and violence. Additionally she was a member of the Center for Human Rights Steering Committee, a founding member of the Diversity Advisory Committee, and curriculum coordinator for the Women’s Studies Program.

Dr. Sharbach’s advocacy was always in evidence through her teaching, scholarship and travels, and in conversation with colleagues, students and friends. She challenged those around her to rethink doctrinaire points of view, and she did this cheerfully and with a sense of mischief. She lived out her values and beliefs in her thoughtfulness about everyday life.

Dr. Sharbach’s commitment to the University even continued after she learned that she had breast cancer in the fall of 2001. Her passion for teaching persisted during her treatments, as did her dedication to her friends and family. She passed away in January 2004, but is remembered by all who had the good fortune to know her.

As Sarah Sharbach touched the lives of many of us throughout the college community through her teaching, scholarship, advocacy and friendship, this scholarship is designed to continue her legacy of passion for social justice.

Drs. Kalyan K. and Abha P. Ghosh Endowed Scholarship

Drs. Kalyan K. and Abha P. Ghosh Endowed Scholarship

Criteria: (Two Awards Equal to Full Annual Tuition) The Kalyan K. and Abha P. Ghosh Scholarship will be awarded to incoming or current students attending Worcester State University. Incoming students must have a grade point average of 3.5 or higher while current matriculating students should carry a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average. The applicants must major in any Life or Physical Science or Computer Science/Mathematics Program and show evidence of financial need by demonstrating a maximum family income of $35,000, or less if the applicant is a dependent student.

The presidency of Kalyan K. Ghosh, Ph.D., ninth president of Worcester State University, was marked by significant accomplishments in all areas of campus life affecting the University community. During his 10-year tenure, from 1992 to 2002, the University saw significant enhancements to its academic reputation, the caliber of its students, and the quality of several academic programs. Additionally, the University’s financial base was significantly strengthened, and the grounds and building facilities were improved in a number of ways including the construction of a state-of-the-art science and technology center.

Among Dr. Ghosh’s most enduring accomplishments was the establishment of the Worcester State Foundation, which oversees soliciting funds from alumni, corporations, and foundations. The Foundation provides scholarship assistance and program support, helping to ensure that a quality WSU education will be accessible to current and future generations of students. He noted, “When I established the fundraising program, I wanted to change the culture of giving. One way was to create naming opportunities through endowed funds. When students graduate and are successful, hopefully they will feel the obligation to do the same thing for future generations of students. My wife and I wanted to lead by example by establishing our own scholarship.”

Dr. Ghosh and his wife, Abha, who also holds a doctorate degree, met at the University of Calcutta, where they both majored in chemistry. She has had a successful career as a college professor and administrator and as a scientist. The couple has two children and four grandchildren.

Following his retirement in 2002, Dr. Ghosh remarked, “I hope to be remembered as a person who led the University with a vision who created a lot of student-focused programs and expected a lot of the individuals who work at the University. Most of all, I hope to be remembered as a fair person who made a difference in the life of the campus.”

Jessica Dempsey ’12 Scholarship for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Jessica Dempsey ’12 Scholarship for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Criteria:($500.00 award) The Jessica Dempsey ’12 Scholarship for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will be awarded to a hard-working entrepreneurial student with an interest in starting a business while attending WSU. The qualified candidate should provide a short essay attesting to the need for this scholarship.

Jessica Dempsey ’12 wants to give budding student entrepreneurs at Worcester State University the option to fail—a luxury she didn’t have while building her own part-time business as a student. So even though she’s just starting out in her professional career, she has donated money for a scholarship to support students who have a great idea for a business, but lack the financial safety net needed to take risks in the business world.

“I had to do it on my own—if I failed, I was homeless,” said Dempsey of her student entrepreneurial career. “I didn’t have a cushion, and I want to give that cushion to other student entrepreneurs. You’re frightened to try bold things when you don’t have a safety net. “
Dempsey is fulfilling a promise she made after receiving a scholarship while a business major at WSU. She had returned to college to pursue a lifelong dream to start a business, despite already holding an English degree from a local private college and being saddled with over $100,000 in student loan debt. When she entered WSU, she was unemployed, living under the poverty line and responsible for her own additional educational expenses.

She still remembers the feeling of confidence that came after she was awarded the Olive Lutz Borgatti Scholarship in 2010.
“I met the donors of my scholarship and they said my essay blew them away. It felt so good to be noticed, and it gave me my competitive spirit back,” said Dempsey. “I said, as soon as I can, I will give back to a student like myself. It has always been number one on my list of things to do.”
While a student, Dempsey started a sports blog called ProFootballChick.com, taking advantage of her love of football and the written word. She started gathering a following and then changed the blog’s name to ProSportsChick.com as she branched out to writing about other sports. As her blog gained popularity, she was able to monetize it with advertisements, and then started attracting perks, such as an all-expense-paid trip to the Super Bowl in 2012.

Upon graduation, she secured a job at Raytheon, which led to her current position at MITRE in Financial Project Management—the day job that funds many of the other creative entrepreneurial ideas she is still pursuing.

The Jessica Dempsey ’12 Scholarship for Entrepreneurship and Innovation could provide seed money for a business idea, or serve as an emergency fund to help put food on the table. Just as she was able to meet her scholarship’s donor, Dempsey hopes that she can provide mentorship to the student who wins her scholarship

Julia Bransby Knowlton Scholarship

Julia Bransby Knowlton Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual Tuition Award) The Julia Bransby Knowlton Scholarship will be awarded to a female, first preference to a major in the Visual and Performing Arts with a concentration in Theater.

Julia Bransby Knowlton was a film editor, teacher, and amateur actor and director. The highlight of her career was working on the 1957 Academy Award-winning documentary “Albert Schweitzer.” Julia studied the performing arts at the Comnock School of Expression in Los Angeles and performed in and directed theater productions in Los Angeles, San Diego and Wilton, Connecticut. This scholarship was established in her memory by her granddaughter Heidi Knowlton and Heidi’s husband, Raja Mukherjee.

Julia Rosalind Bransby was born in 1904 in Los Angeles long before it became known for its movie stars. At Imperial Valley High School, she was active in drama and the school newspaper. She met and married her husband, Murray Knowlton, while both were performing with a theater group in 1926. They later moved to New England with their two sons during the Second World War. While the family lived in Connecticut, Julia commuted to New York City, first to work with her brother John Bransby on film and television productions, and later with filmmaker Jerome Hill as a director and film editor. It was with Jerome Hill that she had the opportunity of a lifetime, to travel to Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s hospital in Lambarene, Gabon to make a film about the Nobel Peace Prize winner. As well as helping the company film his activities as a medical missionary in Africa, she also traveled to Europe to cover Dr. Schweitzer’s roots and his activities as a leading interpreter of the organ music of Bach.

For half of each year, Jerome Hill took his entire company to Cassis in the French Riviera. Julia became fluent in French, something she kept up with after retirement when she moved back to the place she loved best, southern California. She remained active, taking oil painting classes and swimming laps in the pool daily well into her 80s. Julia died in 2007 at the age of 103.


Kevin O'Brien Scholarship

The late Kevin O’Brien was a writer, a small business owner, a highly skilled U.S. Army Special Forces soldier, and a network engineer who passed away in April 2017.

While in the U.S. Army, he completed a B.S. with the Regents External Degree Program, now Excelsior University. He attended graduate school at Worcester State (for just one semester, studying education) and at Daniel Webster College, where he earned an M.B.A. He attended numerous military schools in a 30-year career, and earned a certificate in Conflict Analysis from the U.S. Institute of Peace.

He served numerous overseas tours, including a stint in Afghanistan in 2003. Most recently, he was the creator and author of an acclaimed blog www.weaponsman.com, which is widely read by those interested in firearms and the military.
Kevin was fiercely loyal to his friends, family, and Army comrades. In addition, he treasured family time, stimulating conversations, and helping young people when possible. Above all, he valued hard work and industriousness.

The stories are legion of how Kevin helped others. One friend found herself, due to a flood, without a vehicle or working washer or dryer when Kevin was in Afghanistan. He somehow found out about the situation, and offered his truck and apartment for her use for as long as needed. Kevin also never stopped learning. Whether it was specific Army-related courses or reading scores of books, he was always looking to add to his vast knowledge.

At Worcester State, Kevin served as a judge for the Robert K. O’Brien ’58 Next Big Idea contest, an annual event founded by his father celebrating entrepreneurship and creativity. The contest challenges students to present their ideas for new businesses to a group of experienced professionals with a chance to earn cash prizes. In addition, the Barbara (Hickey) O’Brien ’57 Education Department at Worcester State is named for his mother, a longtime educator and WSU benefactor. In addition to the Kevin O’Brien Scholarship, the O’Brien family has supported six other scholarships that have supported more than 100 students and counting.

McCarthy Coyle Wagner Scholarship for Community Activism

McCarthy Coyle Wagner Scholarship for Community Activism

Criteria: (One $500 Award) The McCarthy Coyle Wagner Scholarship for Community Activism will be awarded to a sophomore, junior or senior enrolled at Worcester State University. The student must be in good academic standing with a grade point average of 2.0 or higher. Preference will be given to a student who has a focus on improving the quality of civic life through student community activism, has been working with Worcester State community partners, and has demonstrated financial need. This work could be in the Arts, Health Care, Education or any discipline that leads the student to see and act on the interconnectedness of extended communities. A 500-word essay must be submitted expressing how the student demonstrates an interest in leading their peers to take on work that seeks to improve the life of others.

McCarthy Coyle (1939-2006) was an artist and activist. His play “Drawing Down the Moon” was directed by Lloyd Richards at the O’Neill Theatre Festival. The lead of the original production was Frances McDormand. His play “The Root” played at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

A Journalism Fellow at Stanford University and one-time reporter for the New York Daily News, McCarthy founded The Borrowed Times newspaper in Missoula, Montana and was also instrumental in founding MQTV (Montanans for Quality Television), which established public and cable access television in Montana.

A veteran of the Coast Guard, he helped establish the first VA medical clinic for veterans in Montana.

McCarthy believed in free speech and freedom of association. The McCarthy Coyle Wagner family, including Worcester State University Professor Mark Wagner, Ph.D., has many members who are and have been active in artistic, civic and political life. Whether through arts organizations, student organizations, or local or city government, many in the family have benefited from strengthening civic and social networks in an interconnected world. The scholarship is dedicated to McCarthy Coyle’s legacy of action and activism.

Nathaniel Mencow U.S. History Scholarship

Nathaniel Mencow U.S. History Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual Tuition Award) The Nathaniel Mencow U.S. History Scholarship will be awarded to full-time undergraduate student who is majoring in History with a concentration in United States history and demonstrates financial need. Candidates should provide a short essay attesting to their interest in U.S. history and need of this grant, and submit it with the scholarship application.

Through the Nathaniel Mencow U.S. History Scholarship Fund, this Worcester State double graduate’s love of history will transcend generations.

Nathaniel Mencow ’88, M.Ed. ’05, who passed away in May 2007 at age 89, began his undergraduate work in his late 60s, following a distinguished career in the Air Force and owning his own wholesale furniture business. His completion of his master’s degree in Education earned him kudos for being the WSU’s oldest degree recipient.

Mencow’s Air Force career began in 1941 when he enlisted for World War II. His missions included the “The Big Three” to Regensburg, Munster, and Schweinfurt, as well as air support for the allied landing on D-Day. In 1991, a documentary based on his B-17 plane, “Betty Boop – The Pistol Packin’ Mama,” was released. After WWII, he ran his own wholesale furniture business until 1982.

Known for his wit, life experiences, and joy of living, Mencow won so many prizes on WTAG’s “college of useless knowledge” that he was asked to stop calling. He brought that intense desire to learn and share his knowledge to Worcester State—and eventually to Worcester Public Schools.

At age 70, he received his bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications, cum laude, and began a new career as a substitute teacher at Sullivan Middle School. Not satisfied teaching on an as-needed basis, Mencow created, coordinated, and served as curator of a WWII museum at the school. He also was an adjunct professor of History at Worcester State.

Mencow’s family and friends have established this memorial scholarship to inspire future Worcester State history students to share his passion for life and knowledge.

Paul ’57, ’59 & Barbara ’71, ’73 Davis Scholarship

Paul ’57, ’59 & Barbara ’71, ’73 Davis Scholarship

Criteria: ($500 award) The Paul ’57, ’59 and Barbara ’71, ’73 Davis Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate student, residing in Worcester County, with need. Candidates should provide a short essay attesting to the need for this scholarship and submit it with the scholarship application. It should be noted that this award will not be automatically renewed.

For Paul and Barbara Davis, the connection to Worcester State University runs deep. They earned their undergraduate degrees in education from here and both went on to earn their master’s degrees. In addition, both their children are alums—Bryan, Class of 1974, and Pamela, Class of 1977—and their daughter-in-law, Joan, Class of 1991. Barbara worked in the WSC Library for five years prior to a 25-year teaching career. Paul established the WSU Communications Department and taught at the University for 35 years before retiring as professor emeritus in 1992.

“We have a strong affiliation with Worcester State,” Barbara notes. “It has played an important role in shaping our lives and helping us achieve our goals of service to young people.”

“I have always been proud to be a graduate of Worcester State,” says Paul, who also, holds a doctor of education degree from the University of Massachusetts. “I have taken courses at colleges and universities in the Commonwealth and Connecticut, and I can say with assurance, that the undergraduate and graduate programs at Worcester State compare without equal. A Worcester State University education is outstanding.”

Their pride in their alma mater is linked to many memories. Paul recalls his role as consultant to the architects designing the lower level of the Learning Resource Center which houses the Communications Department, initially called the Audio-Visual Department. “The role of technology in the classroom was about to explode and I was fortunate to have input on the design of our classrooms, studios and curriculum,” he notes.

Paul and Barbara have been married more than 50 years and have two children and five grandchildren. Education is a family priority—both their children and son-in-law, Richard Bickford, are teachers. “We feel strongly about the importance of doing this” notes Barbara, “in order that others may have the same opportunities.”

Paul agrees. “Worcester State gave us so much, and we’ve decided that it’s right to give back in a significant way,” he says. “Our hope is that current and future generations of students will continue to have access to an education of excellence at Worcester State University.”

 People's United Bank Scholarship Fund

People's United Bank Scholarship Fund

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual Tuition Award) The People’s United Bank Scholarship will be awarded in accordance with the following priorities: a) a People’s United Bank employee or child of a People’s United Bank employee; b) a full-time student or a part-time student enrolled in at least two courses per semester with financial need; c) in the event of no eligible candidates from People’s United Bank, the scholarship is available to a resident of Worcester who is a full-time student or a part-time student enrolled in at least two courses per semester with financial need. Candidates should provide a short essay attesting to the need for this scholarship and submit it with the scholarship application. It should be noted that this scholarship will not be automatically renewed and applicants are encouraged to reapply each academic year.

This scholarship was originally established by Flagship Bank & Trust Company, which opened for business in December 1987. Situated in Central Massachusetts, Flagship was the first new bank to have opened in Worcester in 35 years. Flagship Bank was renamed People’s United Bank in 2010.

People’s United Bank is the largest regional banking organization headquartered in New England. With the acquisition of the Chittenden Corporation in January 2008, it has grown to approximately $22 billion in assets and more than 300 branches in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and in Westchester County, New York. Convenient, seven-day banking is offered at more than 80 of our branches in Connecticut Stop & Shop supermarket locations.

A diversified financial services company founded in 1842, People’s United Bank provides consumer, commercial, insurance, retail investment and wealth management and trust services to personal and business customers. Through its subsidiaries, People’s United Bank offers: brokerage, financial advisory services, investment management services and life insurance through People’s Securities, Inc.; equipment financing through People’s Capital and Leasing Corp. and Financial Federal Credit; and other insurance services through the People’s United Insurance Agency.

Rhythm Dance Company Scholarship

Rhythm Dance Company Scholarship

Criteria: $1000.00 Award – Awarded to a sophomore, junior, or senior who is a current member of the WSU Dance Team. Preference to a student majoring or minoring in visual and performing arts. Applicants must be enrolled in 12 or more credits, be residents of Massachusetts, and have a GPA of 2.8 or higher.

Rhythm Dance Company (RDC) has established the Rhythm Dance Company Scholarship at Worcester State University to support local students interested in pursuing their goals of a college education. RDC, located in Westborough, offers competitive and performance level programs for students ages 2 through 18.

Richard “Okie” O’Connor Scholarship

Richard “Okie” O’Connor Scholarship

Criteria: (One $500 Award) The Richard “Okie” O’Connor Scholarship will be awarded to a full-time junior or senior student at Worcester State University. The applicants must have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Preference will be given to students actively participating in university-sponsored extra-curricular activities. A 500-word essay must be submitted with the application expressing how the student’s education at Worcester State University has improved their life and how their participation in extra-curricular activities has enhanced their university experience and growth as a person.

Professor Emeritus Richard “Okie” O’Connor devoted 26 years of professional service to Worcester State University. He was a tenured associate professor of psychology and the University’s first track-and-field coach. He retired in 1994.

The courses he taught included history and systems of psychology, theories of personality, and the Enneagram. He became an expert of the Enneagram during a sabbatical in the 1991-1992 academic year. The Enneagram is an ancient symbol of unity and diversity, change, and transformation viewed as an insightful, useful approach to understanding human nature. In addition, Okie developed a stress unit for the Worcester Police Department and lent his expertise in psychology to WSU’s criminal justice program.

A 1955 graduate of Commerce High School in Worcester, Okie went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology from Clark University in 1962, a master’s degree in guidance and psychology from Assumption College in 1966, and a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1972.

Okie, who ran cross-country and was on indoor and outdoor track teams in high school, was instrumental in building WSU’s track-and-field program. He coached cross-country and track from 1969 through 1985, compiling an amazing 205 wins. His cross-country team went 77-37, while his track team had a record of 128-65. His cross-country team went undefeated, 10-0, in 1970. In 1971, his track team logged an undefeated 7-0 record.

Okie’s leadership and dedication to his teams led to the successes of his student-athletes. He brought two teams to the Massachusetts State College Championship in 1972 and 1976 and coached three NCAA Division III All Americans.

Because of his commitment to his athletes and the sport of track-and-field, several of Okie’s team members have joined him in the WSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He was inducted in 1996.

This scholarship is a labor of love by the WSU track-and-field alumni community. Members see this as a fitting tribute to a coach whose high expectations, motivational coaching style, and sense of humor brought out the best in his athletes.

Robert Emmett Mullin Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Educational Issues, Practices and Policies

Robert Emmett Mullin Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Educational Issues, Practices and Policies

( $1,000.00 Award) Robert Emmett Mullin earned both his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at Worcester State University in 1953, 1956, respectively. After ten years of teaching, Dr. Mullin returned to graduate study at Teachers College, Columbia University and earned his Doctorate Degree, Ed.D., in 1965. While earning his Doctorate Degree in social studies education at Columbia, he was a part-time research assistant. Some of his field work included work on the prestigious Afghanistan India project. He then joined the faculty of Queens College where his illustrious teaching tenure spanned thirty years.

The Robert Emmett Mullin Endowed Graduate Scholarship in Educational Issues, Practices and Policies is in addition to two previous endowments bequeathed by Dr. Mullin. In 2003, Dr. Mullin established a scholarship in memory of his beloved parents, the Eileen and William Mullin Memorial Scholarship, and ten years later endowed a scholarship in memory of his inspirational and special uncle, the Francis J. Mullin Memorial Scholarship. “It now gives me great joy to be able to endow this scholarship, my first for Graduate Study.”

The intent of this scholarship is to address current challenges and or concerns facing twenty-first century educators – educational issues, practices and policies – that may be seen through a variety of scholarly viewpoints including: political, historical, sociological, psychological, financial as well as educational. Graduate students will compete for this scholarship by writing an essay explaining how their graduate education will serve them in affecting positive change in the field of education. The topics that may possibly be addressed could include: Charter Schools, Home Schooling, Common Core Learning, Education for the Gifted and Talented, Teacher Tenure, Pupil Testing, Public School Financing, Pupil Vouchers for School Choice, the “No Child Left Behind” Law, etc.

Robert K. O’Brien ’58 Scholarship

Robert K. O’Brien ’58 Scholarship

Criteria: (Amount Equal to One Full Annual Tuition Award) The Robert K. O’Brien ’58 Scholarship will be awarded in accordance with the following priorities: A full-time student who has demonstrated a high degree of industriousness and has declared a minor in secondary education. (In the event that there is more than one qualified candidate, the Scholarship Review Committee will give preference to an applicant who has plans to teach Math or Science.) Included with the scholarship application, candidates shall submit a short essay attesting to his/her qualifications for this scholarship. It should be noted that this scholarship is awarded on an annual basis and recipients are encouraged to apply each academic year.

Robert K. O’Brien ’58 has been a steadfast and generous supporter of Worcester State University for many years. He and his wife, Barbara (Hickey)’57 O’Brien, established four scholarships at the University in memory of their parents, and Mrs. O’Brien created a fifth scholarship in her own name to support students at her alma mater. This sixth scholarship is a striking testament to the remarkable commitment and loyalty that Mr. O’Brien feels towards Worcester State University students.

Mr. O’Brien, whose parents set an example of integrity and hard work, grew up in Worcester, Mass. An industrious person, he started his business career as a newspaper boy at the age of nine. By the age of 11, he was handling three daily and one Sunday paper route. He worked full-time throughout high school and college, graduating from Worcester State Teachers College with a degree in Education on June 8, 1958. On the next day, Mr. O’Brien went to work as a trainee at the State Mutual Life Assurance Company of America, now known as Hanover Insurance. He rose steadily through the ranks, retiring from State Mutual as Vice President, Reinsurance, on December 31, 1989.

In 1990, Mr. O’Brien founded a reinsurance management company, Health Reinsurance Management, Inc., from which he retired in 2003 at the age of 69. This company, along with some 10 other associated companies that Mr. O’Brien created, employed more than 300 people. Now “semi-retired,” Mr. O’Brien continues to provide leadership for several organizations. He is Chief Financial Officer of O.G.R.E., a software developer for landlords, and President of HRMI, a venture capital firm that also handles mortgages. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of American Security Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Uruguay, and an administration company based in Miami.

Mr. O’Brien, who has two children and two delightful grandchildren, says of his Worcester State University education, “I graduated knowing how to think, and that led me to make good decisions throughout the rest of my life. Good decision making is the key to success.”

Because Mr. O’Brien values hard work, this scholarship is designed specifically to assist students who are themselves industrious and hardworking. Mr. O’Brien further shares, “I have had to sacrifice in my life, and I’ve worked hard. But now I’m able to make a difference at the college that gave me my start. I believe that everyone ought to do something to help others succeed.”

Sidney Buxton, Jr. Scholarship Award

Sidney Buxton, Jr. Scholarship Award

Criteria: (Several Partial Tuition Awards) The Sidney Buxton, Jr. Scholarship Award will be awarded to a student who meets the following criteria:
• A full-time student at Worcester State University in the academic year
prior to this application.
• A participant of the Alternative for Individual Development (AID)
• A sophomore or junior, with a minimum grade point average (GPA)
of 2.50, who has completed a minimum of 24 credits within the last
academic year.
• Established participation with a community service event/agency.

Sidney Buxton has served the Worcester State University community for more than 27 years. From 1975 to 2001 he held the position of assistant dean of multicultural affairs and Director of the Learning Assistance Center. In January 2002, he was promoted to dean of academic services and freshman studies. During his tenure at WSU, he has been responsible for the development of viable educational, cultural, and support programs for ALANA (Asian, Latin, African American, Native American) students.

As an educator, he has dedicated his career to ensuring education opportunity for the growing segments of underprivileged students, impacting the lives of hundreds of individuals at the high school, undergraduate and professional levels. As a friend, he has been a source of guidance and support facilitating personal and professional success for students and their families.

In honoring the person behind the success of many ALANA professionals, the Multicultural Affairs Alumni Council established the Sidney Buxton, Jr. Scholarship Award in 1997. The award symbolizes Sid’s continuous dedication and commitment to ensure educational opportunities for minority and disadvantaged students at Worcester State University.

The Ada Cheever Perry Memorial Scholarship

The Ada Cheever Perry Memorial Scholarship

Criteria: (Partial Tuition – $250 per semester) Applicants for this scholarship must be full-time undergraduate students at Worcester State University, entering their junior or senior year and pursing a major in Chemistry, Computer Science, Nursing or Management. Students with a minor in Secondary Education will also be considered. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.7, must demonstrate financial need and must be citizens of the United States.

Ada Cheever Perry was a 1905 graduate of the Worcester Normal School. Her daughter, Colonel Miriam E. Perry Goll, U.S. Air Force, established The Ada Cheever Perry Scholarship in her memory.

The Aileen D. Kelly Memorial Scholarship

The Aileen D. Kelly Memorial Scholarship

Criteria: (Three Awards Equal to Full Annual Tuition) The Aileen D. Kelly Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate or graduate student, a registered nurse, with a record of superior scholarship combined with a strong career interest and evidence of potential future accomplishment.

Aileen D. Kelly was educated in the Worcester public schools and graduated from the Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing, Class of 1918. She then entered the field of public health nursing at Columbia University in New York and was appointed by the Board of Education of the City of New York as a teacher of hygiene and home nursing. Upon her retirement, Miss Kelly lived in New York and returned to Worcester in 1978, where she lived until her death in 1981.

The Allen and Barbara (Lyons) ’59 Levesque Endowed Book Fund

The Allen and Barbara (Lyons) ’59 Levesque Endowed Book Fund

Criteria: (Six Annual $250 Voucher Awards) The Allen and Barbara (Lyons) ’59 Levesque Endowed Book Fund will be awarded to full-time students who are entering their sophomore, junior, or senior year of study. The applicant should provide evidence of financial need. It should be noted that preference will be given to students majoring in the field of Education.

When Barbara and Allen Levesque established this fund to commemorate Worcester State University’s 125th anniversary, they wrote, “It is our hope that in this small way we can give assistance and encouragement to deserving Worcester State students intending to pursue careers in public or private education.”

Barbara (Lyons) Levesque had a long career in education. Following her graduation from Worcester State Teachers College in 1959, she taught in Worcester public schools for several years before devoting full time to raising three children, Karen, Amy, and Steven. In 1979, she rejoined the academic world, first as a part-time, then as a full-time library assistant at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, Mass., taking early retirement in June 2002. She and her husband, Allen, have resided for thirty-seven years in Chelmsford, Mass., and increasingly spend time at their vacation home in Quechee, Vermont.

Allen H. Levesque received a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1959, and a master’s and doctoral degree in Electrical Engineering from Yale University in 1960 and 1965, respectively. He and Barbara were married in Worcester in August 1960. Following a 36-year career in the telecommunications industry, he retired from GTE Laboratories in early 1999 and started an engineering consulting practice. Currently, he is also an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering at WPI.