This past Valentine’s Day, Frostburg State University Police Capt. Clyde “Bill” Stewart made the final payment to the Twylah Murphy Stewart Scholarship Fund, a scholarship in honor of his wife that was a gift more than 12 years in the making.
Stewart started his donations, bi-weekly payroll deductions, during a Frostburg State University Foundation, Inc., capital campaign during the mid-1990s. He anticipated that the scholarship for aspiring teachers would reach its endowment level of $10,000 around the time of his wife’s retirement. He planned to surprise her with the honor as a gift.
“I felt like the University’s done a lot for me. It’s done a lot for Twylah. She’s had a good career because of it,” Bill Stewart said.
Twylah Stewart, a 35-year teacher, currently at Accident Elementary School, learned of her husband’s secret a few years ago.
“I thought, ‘Wow, what a great idea,” Twylah Stewart said when she discovered the fund. “It’s a very nice gift, and one that will continue to keep on giving.”
Bill Stewart said that since his wife handles the family finances, it was probably inevitable that he wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret forever. The fund reached its endowment level sooner than he was expecting, he said. His wife isn’t ready to retire quite yet.
The scholarship will benefit elementary education majors with the added expenses of their final internship. The Stewarts both remember the difficulty of paying for the costs of transportation and appropriate clothing, on top of standard educational expenses like tuition and books.
The Stewarts met in graduate school at Frostburg State. Bill holds a M.Ed. in counseling from Frostburg and Twylah has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from FSU.
Bill Stewart designed the scholarship to benefit students from Allegany or Garrett County for a couple of reasons. His wife is a Frostburg native and teaches in Garrett County. But he is also grateful to the community for the welcome he received when he moved here from Portsmouth, Va.
“This community has been very receptive to me personally, very welcoming,” he said.
Scholarship awards will generally be in increments of $500. Applications are to be made through the FSU Department of Educational Professions.
“I thought it would be a good thing for a serious student who needs a little boost,” Bill Stewart said. “People can always use a little extra pin money.”
For more information about the Frostburg State University Foundation, Inc., call the Foundation office at 301-687-4161, or visit the Web site at www.frostburg.edu/admin/foundation.