Scholarship and Service Day Celebrate a Special Spirit

Remembering Brooke



In 2020, Alumni Relations and Events Specialist Brooke Kirchner (honorary alumna ’19) was diagnosed with stage-four breast cancer. Throughout her 10-month battle, she remained committed to her family, friends and Frostburg State University. Brooke passed away on Aug. 13, 2021.

“She was passionate about connecting alumni with their alma mater and looked for new and creative ways to engage and communicate with them,” said Director of Alumni and Donor Relations Shannon Gribble ’98.

Brooke, Jax, Lucy, Justin family photo
Brooke Kirchner, with her husband Justin ’09, and their children, Lucy and Jax

This passion is what inspired Alumni Association Board Member Ed Herold ’83 to create the Brooke R. Kirchner Student Alumni Engagement Scholarship. The scholarship will benefit a full-time student who exhibits a strong affinity for FSU, a positive attitude accompanied by school spirit, with previous experience in student alumni engagement programs.

“Brooke loved Frostburg. She brought energy to everything she did,” Herold said. “She loved life and touched a lot of people.”

Herold appreciated that Kirchner “got” his humor. “She had a vibrancy about her – and the room glowed when she was there. She will always have a small part of my heart.”

According to Gribble, Kirchner was dedicated to the growth of students and engaging them through the Student Alumni Ambassador program that she advised. “She worked to foster the students’ enthusiasm, creativity and willingness to learn,” added Gribble.

group pose in front of gazeebo

One “PAWS in for Brooke” was in Brooke’s hometown of Meyersdale, Pa., where her family and friends prepared planters for spring flowers.

Justin Kirchner ’09, Brooke’s husband, agreed about his late wife’s passion for working with young people. “She was a people person. Loved planning events and participating in them. I know that working with the student group meant a lot to her.”

Brooke also helped to initiate the Alumni Service Project Day called “Bobcat Helping Hands,” a day for graduates to volunteer together.

To honor her giving spirit, Kirk Engle ’90, Alumni Association board member, requested this now annual event be named in her memory. “PAWS in for Brooke” was scheduled for May 7, but the rain and COVID-19 complications forced postponement. However, one project, in Brooke’s hometown of Meyersdale, Pa., occurred on May 9. Her family and friends helped the Maple City Garden Club prepare town planters for spring flowers. The other projects will be rescheduled.

For Justin, the scholarship and the naming of the service event are special ways to celebrate and honor Brooke’s memory and spirit.

Paws in for Brooke logo

“I don’t know that I can express how much it means,” he said. “Brooke was a giver, even after finding out she was sick. She went out of her way to do what she could when she could for others. So, in essence, it is very fitting to have a scholarship to help someone, as she helped.”

To make a gift in support of the Brooke R. Kirchner Student Alumni Engagement Scholarship, call the FSU Foundation at 301-687-4068 or visit online at foundation.frostburg.edu.