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Forging Connections, Opening Opportunities

New Scholarships Forge Connections, Open Opportunities


UD communityDate published: Sept. 11, 2020

A scholarship, whether established in your own name or in honor or memory of a loved one, a professor, a saint or someone else who had a deep impact on your life, is always a means of making a connection, of reaching out beyond your own life and time to touch someone else’s. While the donor and recipient don’t know each other beforehand, with the awarding of the scholarship, a link is forged. Through this connection, the recipient edges onto a path, into a life, that may not have been possible without the scholarship.

At UD, it is now possible to create a nonendowed, named scholarship with a minimum commitment of $20,000, which may be payable over up to four years. Recently, three families have done just this in order to forge that connection and provide needed aid to current students.

The Timothy Andrew Sheridan Memorial Annual Scholarship was created by Sheridan’s aunt Marty Sheridan, BA ’77, and another uncle and aunt, William J. and Jeannette Sheridan, after Tim’s death at age 38 in July due to COVID-19. The scholarship will be awarded to a drama student, as Tim Sheridan had a degree in drama from the University of Southern Maine and loved all aspects of theater. He lived in Astoria Queens, New York, and worked for the city, but spent most of his free time working and volunteering at Gallery Players Theater in Brooklyn. 

“Over the years he did everything from acting and working the lights to managing rehearsals, serving first as an assistant stage manager, then associate producer in 2017 and production stage manager in 2018/19,” said Marty Sheridan. “One of my favorite memories of Tim was seeing him play Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream there in 2015.”

Being single, Marty Sheridan traveled a lot and spent a lot of time and special occasions with Tim's family. 

UD classroom“We were all very close,” she said. “Tim always held a special place in my heart. When Tim died and we were all so sad, I spoke with my family about wanting to do something special to honor him. We could not travel to Massachusetts for a funeral and gather as a family normally would due to the COVID travel restrictions, so it was especially important to find a way to remember him. It had to be about Tim. 

“My brother Bill and I decided on a UD scholarship donation for drama students after lots of family ideas,” she explained. “I had also recently received alumni emails from UD soliciting help for students whose studies were interrupted by COVID shutdowns and changes, which I donated to. I did well at UD and loved my experiences there in the ’70s (especially Rome!), so we wanted to help students today who are attending UD in more difficult times. I think Tim would be pleased that we are helping drama students.”

Meanwhile, the Donald W. Bendure Annual Scholarship was established by Donald Bendure, MBA ’89, specifically to help students who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, though any student with financial need would be eligible.  

“I was fortunate in having my MBA paid for by my company,” said Bendure. “I never had a glitch in support, but had I lost my job for any reason, it would have been nearly impossible to continue my studies for my MBA because of that broken relationship. And it would have been nearly impossible to find another company that would have been willing to offer that support under such economic stress. The COVID pandemic has created a much more difficult environment for students who rely on their part-time or full-time employment to make ends meet. I have always felt that blessings should be paid forward, and that is what this scholarship does in a very personal way.”

UD researchFinally, in the case of the St. Maximilian Kolbe Scholarship, the anonymous donors are parents of an alumna and a current student. It was their children’s formation at UD that inspired their gift: “UD offers students the ability to think critically, in seeking truth,” they said. “That's UD’s goal, and, increasingly, it’s no longer the goal at most other American colleges and universities. No other school provides this opportunity with the rigor that UD provides."  

The St. Maximilian Kolbe Scholarship will support a new or current student with financial need who is in the top half of his or her class academically, thereby demonstrating the potential for academic excellence. The scholarship can be renewed annually if the student maintains eligibility. The donors named their scholarship for St. Maximilian Kolbe because, when confronted with the destructiveness of a modern ideology, this peaceful, intellectual friar had the resources of faith, supreme generosity and courage to lay down his life for another.

To learn more about establishing a scholarship, please contact Vice President for Advancement Kris Muñoz Vetter at kmunozvetter@udallas.edu or 972-721-5149.

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