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Scholarship recipients Stephanie Lisman and
Beth Kohn

Scholarships are a special kind of gift. They are born in generosity and the desire to contribute to someone else's life. Memorial scholarships add the additional dimension of making a gift in the midst of one's own loss, of envisioning something positive coming from tragedy.

One such scholarship is the Joell Williams Scholarship for psychology students. Williams, a graduate of the Department of Psychology (1992), died in a car accident in the fall of 1999. Her parents, Carolyn and Michael Nickey, now residents of Auburn, California, established the scholarship as a loving tribute to their daughter.

Williams worked in the rehabilitation field and had opened a private business with a friend shortly before her death. Her genuine desire to help others is what her parents wished to honor. They chose to establish a scholarship for psychology students who followed a career path similar to Joell's.

The scholarship is awarded to psychology majors with a GPA of 3.03.5 who have financial need. The recipients must be Northern California residents, and priority is given to sophomores and juniors who are volunteering in areas related to the field of psychology.

Last fall, the Nickeys met with Stephanie Lisman and Beth Kohn, the first two recipients of this scholarship, and Diana Walker, director of Scholarship Development. The meeting affected everyone, notes Walker.

"I was impressed with the high quality of the two recipients," says Mike Nickey. "And I was so glad to have been able to both honor Joell and help these women realize their dreams."

The meeting between the Nickeys and the two recipients added meaning to the gift. "To receive an award in the name of the Nickeys' daughter was such an honor," says Kohn. "When we met, I was taken with just how caring and giving they were. They were so open about Joell that I felt like I was receiving the award for a purpose. It motivates me to want to live up to their expectations."

Lisman adds: "The Nickeys were such warm people that I felt I already knew them. What wonderful and generous people to have created a scholarship in honor of their daughter."

Walker came away from the meeting with a greater sense of the effect this kind of gift can have on everyone involved. "I had been deeply moved by the Nickeys from the first time I talked with them," says Walker. "At the meeting, I was touched by the warmth that grew as the conversation bloomed between these very caring parents and two wonderful and appreciative students. I walked away with a better sense of just how wonderful Joell had been."

Other scholarships established in the recent past include the Paul DiGirolamo Scholarship, honoring a political science and international relations graduate and past Associated Students vice president who was killed in an accident in a national park in 1999; the Jen O'Hare Women's Studies Scholarship, honoring a junior who was killed in a car accident in 1999; the Robert Russell Erving Memorial Scholarship, honoring a geography graduate student who died in a skiing accident at age 33; and the Joie Armstrong Memorial Scholarship, honoring a parks and natural resources management graduate slain in Yosemite National Park in 1999.

Memorial scholarships are a wonderful way to pay tribute to the life of a loved one, while also providing benefits to those deserving students who are working to attain their academic goals. For more information, contact Diana Walker, director of Scholarship Giving, 530-898-5297.

     
   



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