In the Library of Congress’ Great Hall on a Tuesday evening in September, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation (MCSF) made its 2010 scholarship announcements. Our nation’s capital is renowned for its glittering social events honoring political leaders and foreign dignitaries, but this event was different; it honored the children of current, former and fallen Marines and Navy corpsmen, by awarding more than 1,400 scholarships to colleges, universities and technical schools across the country.
At a reception preceding the presentation ceremony, scholarship recipients and their families, active-duty Marines, MCSF supporters and congressional leaders mingled beneath vaulted ceilings surrounded by the marble columns and ornate artwork of one of the city’s most beautiful buildings. The guest of honor, General James F. Amos, then-Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, made brief remarks and assisted in presenting the scholarships. The MCSF chairman, Gen Robert Magnus, USMC (Ret), was the master of ceremonies.
Guest speakers were Scott Pearson, representing the U.S. Department of Education, and Tracy Carter Dougherty of Lockheed Martin Corporation. During her remarks, Dougherty announced a grant of $1 million from Lockheed Martin to fund scholarships for the current academic year.
Twenty-five scholarship recipients attended the event, representing the 1,423 scholarships awarded for the 2010-11 school year, totaling $4.25 million for the students to pursue undergraduate studies.
The origins of the MCSF date back to 1962 when retired Brigadier General Martin Rockmore learned of the plight of a World War II Medal of Honor awardee who did not have the financial resources to send his child to college. BGen Rockmore led a fundraising effort to send that child to college and created an organization to provide financial aid to the children of other Marines. Since then, the MCSF has awarded more than 25,000 scholarships valued in excess of $60 million.
The scholarship foundation board of directors, made up of retired Marines and distinguished business leaders from across the country, is chaired by Gen Magnus, former Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps. Margaret B. Davis, an experienced executive with 30 years in nonprofit management and the wife of retired Marine Major General Drew Davis, has guided the foundation’s effort as its president since March 2009.
During a recent conversation, Davis stressed the importance of the MCSF’s mission of providing needs-based scholarships for the children of Marines and Navy corpsmen during these troubling economic times, particularly for children of Marines and sailors killed in service to our country.
She cited the gratifying results of the scholarship foundation’s American Patriots Campaign, which has raised more than $41 million toward its goal of $50 million by the foundation’s 50th anniversary in 2012. Davis also proudly noted that during the past three years the number of scholarships has increased by 35 percent and the average amount of these scholarships increased by 32 percent to meet the increased demand.
The foundation recently received a letter from Vincent Asaro, who is the son of a 28-year Marine veteran who retired as a master gunnery sergeant. In Asaro’s letter, he attests to the impact a scholarship can have on the lives of those who receive them.
“I was a recipient of the General and Mrs. Graves B. Erskine Memorial Scholarship. Due in large part to the generosity of the foundation and individuals like you, I am proud to share with you that I am the first in my extended family to attend college, having graduated from Duke University and Duke Law School.
“Following my graduation from law school, I have started my career as a real estate attorney. Without the helping hand that the foundation extended to me at such a critical time in my development, I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today.”
In late October 2001, the MCSF initiated Hero Tribute Scholarships, which provide up to $30,000 in four-year scholarships, regardless of the family’s financial need, to honor the children of Marines or Marine veterans killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and Marines and corpsmen killed since then. Among the nine Hero Tribute Scholarship recipients this year was Alison Spann, whose father, Johnny Michael Spann, a Marine veteran, who, while serving as a CIA agent, was the first American killed in combat, post Sept. 11, 2001. Only 9 years old at the time of her father’s death, Alison currently attends the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation relies on voluntary contributions from individuals and corporations. Federal employees can contribute through the Combined Federal Campaign. The MCSF also holds a number of fundraising activities each year including golf tournaments, receptions and dinners in more than two dozen locations in all regions of the country.
Visit the MCSF Web site, www.mcsf.org, for additional details. Contributions may be made by visiting the Web site, or by sending a check to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, 121 S. Saint Asaph St., Alexandria, VA 22314.
Editor’s note: “Honoring Marines by Educating Their Children” is the official motto of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation.
Applying for a Scholarship
New scholarship applications for the 2011-12 academic year must be received no later than March 1 of this year.
The sons and daughters of active duty, Reserve and Marine veterans and Navy corpsmen attached to, or who served with, Marine units are eligible to apply for foundation scholarships.
Complete eligibility requirements and directions for filing a scholarship online can be found on the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Web site www.mcsf.org under the heading “Apply.”
Interested applicants who cannot apply online should call the MCSF office at toll-free (800) 292-7777 for assistance.