Katelyn Chostner, Editor-in-Chief
This past Wednesday, recipients of the Eugene J. Meehan Scholarship attended a recognition breakfast in the Social Sciences Building. The College of Arts & Science Dean Andrew Kersten hosted the gathering.
Breakfast began with students networking with other recipients, department heads and faculty members. Kersten introduced himself as a “newbie” since this is his first year recognizing the scholarship winners.
He spoke about the benefits of the Meehan scholarship saying it is “a unique way for undergraduates to connect with top scholars in arts and sciences,” and “The scholarship is a wonderful living legacy from an amazing faculty member who was not only a top scholar in his field but also worked with UMSL undergraduates to develop their skills and passions for the majors in the college.”
The benefactor of the scholarship, Eugene J. Meehan, curators’ professor, passed away in 2002. According to the information given at the recognition breakfast, Meehan had an extensive background. He was a captain in the military and was honorably discharged. Then he attended Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science and attended London School of Economics and Political Science where he received his doctorate degree.
Meehan taught at Rutgers University, Brandeis University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Eventually, he taught political science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis in 1970. During his time at UMSL he was named curators’ professor in 1987 and then retired late in 1992.
After his introductory greeting, Kersten introduced Terrance Jones, founder’s professor, who worked with Meehan. Jones gave a short but detailed dedication to Meehan.
Jones met Meehan at professional conferences and described him as a tough love professor. Meehan left an initial amount of $100,000 after his passing. Then his wife, Alice Meehan, passed and left over $900,000. Today the scholarship is now worth upwards of $1,700,000.
Jones described the scholarship as “a very substantial demonstration of how much he cared leaving this amount of money for this cause.”
Meehan’s scholarship is endowed and is only offered to students who meet the following criteria: at least Junior standing, pursuing a baccalaureate in the College of Arts & Sciences, at least 3.3 GPA overall, enrolled in at least 12 credit hours for the upcoming semester and have financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid.
After Jones spoke about Meehan, the scholarship recipients were announced and asked to stand.
This year’s list includes 25 students: Mohammed Ather, senior, computer science; Libby Bell, junior, biology; Tracie Close, senior, biochem biotechnology; Nicole Culbertson, senior, history; Joshua Dobyns, junior, computer science; Deborah Garcia, senior, mathematics; Adrianna Gensler, junior, biology, Alexandra Hamrick, senior, biology; Julie Harms, senior, English; Anna Henrickson, senior, interdisciplinary studies; Kaitlyn Johnson, senior, modern language; Crystal Kornyukhov senior, mathematics; Emese Mattingly, senior, English; Johannah McDonald, senior, English; Jaimie Mills, senior, political science; Scarlet Montilla, senior, criminology and criminal justice; Jennifer Mossgraber, senior, political science; Abby Naumann, senior, political science; Duc Ngo, junior, political science; Shayna Palmer, senior, biochem biotechnology; Amy Seidel, senior, computer science; Jamie Sims, senior, psychology; Steven Southerland, senior, political science; Madisyn Weiss, senior, political science; Anthony Wright, senior, biology.
Amy Seidel, senior, computer science talked about how she applied for the scholarship though Academic Awards. She was in Korea until two weeks ago and when she came back she saw that she was awarded the Meehan scholarship.
“I forgot about it over the summer … when I came back I saw that I got the scholarship and was like ‘Wow, this is great,’” said Seidel.
Towards the end of the reception Kersten closed the event by congratulating the recipients. Jones set the tone of the students’ day by saying the award winners were “Gene’s thank you.” This reception is planned to go on for many years as the scholarship will be something of magnitude given to undergraduates of the College of Arts & Science.