In a departure from many scholarships that help students with their studies on campus, Frostburg State University is introducing a new scholarship that will help students get away from campus.
To date, more than $213,000 has been raised through the FSU Foundation Inc. for the Catherine R. Gira Campus to Community Fund, which will support student leadership programs, alumni connections, community service, internships and study abroad.
FSU's former president established the scholarship because of her belief that that student education is incomplete if it is limited only to classroom learning.
"Off-campus experience really completes an education; it makes it real," Gira said.
There were two primary fund-raising events. The first, in April, was held at the Hidden Waters home of the University System of Maryland Chancellor, Dr. William E. Kirwan. The second, held in May, was the Crystal Gala, sponsored by the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Cumberland Committee. More than 150 attended the Gala, and about 250 attended the Hidden Waters event.
The Gira Fund is designed to support students who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, critical thinking skills and a determination to be successful. The activities it supports will nurture students who are prepared for the workplace in an increasingly competitive, global economy. Unlike many scholarships, the Gira Fund will assist students with expenses that often make these opportunities otherwise unattainable, such as transportation and housing.
FSU has been a leader in the promotion of real-life experiences that complement traditional classroom instruction, such as its nationally recognized community service programs. Another recent project was Road Trip Frostburg, in which four students traveled to Los Angeles to interview successful FSU alumni and created a documentary chronicling their journey.
"One of those students came back saying the trip was a life-altering experience," Gira said.
The endowment is now large enough that annual awards are expected to exceed $8,000.
For more information about The Catherine R. Gira Campus to Community Fund, call the FSU Foundation Inc. at (301) 687-4161. For more information about FSU, visit the Web site at www.frostburg.edu.