Rairdon SJCOn July 20, 2014, more than 40 members of the Saint Joseph’s College community gathered to run and walk in the Westbrook Strong 5K. The event was a memorial to Matthew Rairdon ’13, a nursing graduate who worked at Portland’s Mercy Hospital. He passed away tragically in November 2013.

“Matt was an amazing young man,” Rairdon’s mother, Laurie, said in a summer interview with radio station WLOB. “In his early teens, he had an experience that landed him in the hospital, and therefore opened the door to a potential nursing degree. He found Saint Joe’s and absolutely loved…the school. I can’t help but feel, every time we go (to Saint Joseph’s campus), his presence.”

Of the 390 participants, a team of 42 College community members joined the effort, wearing blue visors and Westbrook Strong T-shirts to demonstrate support for the Rairdons.

Funds raised by Westbrook Strong and the 5K were used to support the creation of the Matthew Rairdon ’13 Endowed Scholarship, which will be awarded to students from Maine, in particular from the Westbrook and Portland communities, who wish to earn a nursing degree from the College. In late June, the effort had raised approximately $18,000 of the $25,000 target. Following the event, proceeds from the race, sponsorships, and T-shirt sales surpassed this goal, bringing the total to more than $37,000.

In her remarks at the event, Saint Joseph’s Elizabeth Schran, director of corporate and foundation relations, summed up the College’s commitment to families and to the students who will benefit from the Rairdon scholarship in perpetuity: “From the day that a student and family steps onto the campus on move-in day in the fall, Saint Joseph’s considers them a part of our family. And, like all families, we rejoice together in the good times, and we weep together in the sad times. All of us at Saint Joseph’s have wept with Gary, Laurie, and the Rairdon family, but today we rejoice that so many people have joined in working together to celebrate Matthew’s memory and his passion for the nursing profession.”

Saint Joseph’s alumni and friends interested in learning more about making a contribution to the Matthew Rairdon ‘13 Endowed Scholarship can contact Elizabeth Schran at eschran@sjcme.edu.