(Photo by August Jennewein)

Finding a way to honor their mother, a devoted lifelong educator, was something Marie A. Casey and her family thought about for many years. When the opportunity to create an endowed scholarship in her mother’s name arose at Casey’s alma mater, she was ready.

Earlier this year, the University of Missouri System announced it would leverage the $1.1 million released by Gov. Jay Nixon from lottery proceeds to raise an additional $1.1 million for 56 new need-based endowed undergraduate scholarships. The Missouri Need-based Endowed Scholarship Matching Program was the perfect way for Casey, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and communication from the University of Missouri–St. Louis, to create a legacy honoring her mother, while helping to fund the education of a young mind.

The UM System split the matching program funds among the four campuses with UMSL receiving 19 scholarships. Of the remaining scholarships, the University of Missouri–Kansas City will get 17, Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla will receive 11 and the University of Missouri–Columbia will get nine. Each campus must secure donors to participate in the match program to establish each scholarship.

Brenda McPhail, associate vice chancellor of advancement for development at UMSL, said each scholarship requires a $20,000 gift from a donor or donors to gain the $20,000 match from the UM System and create each $40,000 endowed scholarship fund.

“We have 19 opportunities to create scholarships that will benefit UMSL students,” McPhail said. “This match program is an amazing opportunity for donors to create a named scholarship. It’s yet another way for someone to give back to UMSL, while helping a student in need. The scholarships will be awarded annually in perpetuity to eligible students starting in the fall of 2013.”

To date, six scholarships have been funded under the program and another nine donors or groups of donors have expressed interest in participating in the program.

Casey, president of Casey Communications, Inc. in St. Louis, said she was delighted to take part in the match program.

“This program is a perfect way to honor my mother’s immense contributions as a teacher and to simultaneously help a student,” she said. “I want recipients to know about her so they might be inspired by her commitment to the education of young children.”

The Marie Morheuser Casey Scholarship will honor a woman who taught kindergarten, first and second grades for 19 years in St. Louis Public Schools. The mother of eight children, she encouraged lifelong learning and enrichment.

“It is our hope that this scholarship will contribute to the development of future teachers who are committed to the full development of children, especially those born into economic poverty,” Casey said. “Those who carry on this commitment will share our Mom’s wholehearted belief in the enormous potential within each child, her dedication to social justice, her inordinate sense of fairness and high ethics, and her belief that every day counts in the life of a child.”

The opportunity to help others receive an outstanding education immediately drew Terry Freerks to the matching program. After hearing about the program, she shared it with her husband Stanley, and the two UMSL alumni knew they wanted to give. In fact, they are endowing two scholarships.

One scholarship will go to the College of Arts and Sciences where Terry earned her bachelor’s degree in history in 1977 and the other will go to the College of Business Administration where Stanley earned his MBA in 1992.

“We believe in leading by example and want to provide educational opportunities to St. Louis residents,” Terry said. “We feel very strongly that public education is the responsibility of our country. In doing so, we have to walk the walk, and show that giving back really does matter to us.”

Terry chose UMSL because of its outstanding programs and affordability at the time, as a student who paid her own way through college, she knows the value of a quality education.

“I’ve always been impressed with UMSL,” she said. “The faculty are outstanding and so encouraging. I created some lifelong friendships at UMSL with faculty in my field, they encouraged me to go on and earn my master’s degree and I was given such great opportunities to do research and learn from amazing scholars.”

To learn more about the Missouri Need-based Endowed Scholarship Matching Program contact Brenda McPhail at 314-516-6503 or mcphailb@umsl.edu.

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton