FROSTBURG, Md.—Before Frostburg State University alumnus Michael Schrodel died of cancer in August 2001, he wrote a letter to his friends and family that included a special section to his daughter, Carmen. Whenever she missed him, he said, she should look up at the sky and pick out a star. That star was him looking down on her.
Today, Carmen is 10 years old, and she already has her sights set on FSU for college, just like her dad. And a constellation of support that includes Michael’s friends, family members and loved ones has established a scholarship worthy of his legacy of generosity and love.
For the past seven years, Michael’s fraternity brothers in Sigma Tau Gamma, his wife, Teresa Schrodel (class of 1993 at FSU), and other enthusiastic volunteers have gotten together for the annual Michael D. Schrodel Golf Classic, which recently raised enough money to create the Michael D. Schrodel Scholarship Fund.
The scholarship includes a special preference for Sigma Tau Gamma legacies. It’s a fitting tribute to Michael and the strong brotherhood he shared with his fraternity, who stood by him when he was sick, doing everything from arranging rides for him to get radiation treatments to installing tile in his house so he could better maneuver his wheelchair. They also donated money to cover Michael’s funeral expenses.
“It’s these brothers who came to rally and help us during Michael’s courageous battle,” said Teresa, who became quite close to Sigma Tau Gamma and was named their White Rose Sweetheart in 1992. “It’s also these same brothers whom I call upon and I know are ready and willing to offer emotional and any other type of assistance to Carmen and me.”
Eric Dorman (FSU class of 1990), Michael’s Big Brother in Sigma Tau Gamma and an avid golfer, came up with the idea for organizing the annual golf tournament fundraiser.
“I know for some fraternity brothers it’s an event they look forward to every year,” he said. “We even have people who don’t play golf but come to participate just for the camaraderie. As time goes on, we get more and more busy, and we forget the core of our relationship through the fraternity. This is the one time that we embrace that and celebrate Mike’s life together.”
“While I would rather watch paint dry than play golf, I make sure to attend this golf tournament every year,” said Eric Udler (FSU Class of 1990), another Sigma Tau Gamma alum. “It’s a great way to keep in touch with so many fraternity brothers and raise money for a very worthy cause.”
In addition to funding the Michael D. Schrodel Scholarship Fund, proceeds from the golf tournament have also gone toward the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Indianapolis, where the Schrodels stayed while Michael received treatment, Calvert Hospice and a Maryland 529 College Savings Plan for Carmen.
“Michael wanted to give back to those who helped him during his illness,” Teresa said.
Teresa and her daughter also decided to celebrate Michael’s life by adding him to FSU’s Wall of Honor, where “students and faculty will walk by and see his name.”
“Frostburg is where it all began,” Teresa said. “It’s where Michael’s parents met in the ‘60s. It’s where he and I fell in love. Michael’s legacy will always be there. And I’m glad students will have some sort of assistance to help finance their education through this new scholarship. It shows Carmen what a wonderful person her father was.”
The eighth annual Michael D Schrodel Golf Classic will be held July 10, 2009, in Dunkirk, Md. Organizers intend to contribute to the Michael D. Schrodel Scholarship Fund annually. For more information on how to get involved, contact Teresa Schrodel at email@example.com.
The FSU Foundation has embarked on a $15 million comprehensive campaign, Staking Our Claim: The Campaign for Frostburg, to raise badly needed funding for higher education in Western Maryland. Donations to the Foundation support student scholarships and programs, academic programs, faculty development and other critical University needs. For more information about supporting FSU, visit www.frostburg.edu/admin/foundation or call 301-687-4161.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 13 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu.