Gone, but never forgotten: memorial scholarships keep giving

When a classmate or  a loved one dies unexpectedly, it can shock and devastate friends and family. The ongoing grief can be daunting.

Joslyn Banning

Junior elementary education major Joslyn Banning of Plymouth, Mass., received the Class of 1967 Memorial Scholarship. Alumnae began the fund to honor classmate and teacher Leslie Edmunston Buck who died at age 56.

When Leslie Edmunston Buck ’67 of Stonington, Conn., died in 2002 at age 56, several of her classmates decided to create a Saint Joseph’s scholarship to honor her. Over the years, they contributed $25,000 in her memory – dollars that now go toward helping out a current student. The small group of alumnae who organized the effort would get together every so often, and after one reunion they learned of two other classmates that had died. That’s when they decided to make the scholarship in honor of their entire class. Now it honors the memory and spirit of each of its deceased classmates – Leslie Buck, Lyn Casey Good, Janet Sanford Kelliher and Sarah Sullivan Muller.

The Class of 1967 Memorial Endowed Scholarship is the first of its kind at Saint Joseph’s College, and just this year the fund’s interest had grown enough for the scholarship to be awarded for the first time. The criteria stated the award should go to an on-campus student who demonstrates financial need, academic achievement and civic leadership. Joslyn Banning, a junior elementary education major from Plymouth, Mass., is the recipient. (Since Leslie Buck was a teacher and the original reason for the scholarship, it’s especially fitting that it goes to an education major.)

Glennis Chabot ’67 of Scarborough, Maine, says that she and Mary Archibald Strnad led the effort to launch the memorial scholarship: “We are really happy that we were all able to endow it … and that it will go on forever.” People can still even contribute, she adds.

Olivia Doyer

First-year student Olivia Doyer received the Jennifer Jimenez Annual Award given by Jennifer’s family to honor their daughter, an outstanding 2009 alumna who died in a car accident just one year after her graduation from Saint Joseph’s.

When psychology major Michael Goulet died during his junior year in 2010, the popular student was deeply mourned by both classmates and faculty. To honor him, his family established a $1,000 annual scholarship to be given to a St. Joe’s student diagnosed, afflicted or recovering from a traumatic brain injury or epilepsy disorder – and/or a student entering a field of study to perform research or treatment for patients suffering from TBI or epilepsy.

Danielle Goulet, Michael’s sister, says “For us, Saint Joseph’s College is where Michael’s spirit lives, for there remain memories of his happiness. We hope to honor him in ways he would appreciate.”

Jennifer Jimenez ’09 died in a car accident just a year after graduation. An outgoing and talented communications major who was working in New York, she will long be remembered as a campus leader. To honor her memory, family chose to fund an annual $500 academic award in her name at the college. The award goes to a communications student who reflects the qualities of intellectual curiosity, academic achievement, the ability to guide and motivate fellow students, and the potential to make significant contributions to her profession. Olivia Doyer, a freshman from Mechanic Falls, Maine, is the scholarship recipient this year.

Lisa Fraley, J.D., director of major gifts and planned giving, who works with families to set up memorial scholarships, says “We are incredibly grateful that these families are choosing to help current students. No matter the circumstances, it’s a meaningful way to honor the memory of their loved ones forever.”