SALISBURY, MD---Benefiting from a scholarship established by the late Bayne Richmond “Rick” Dudley to help those with disabilities, two Salisbury University students are pursing Masters’ degrees – in English and social work – which they hope to eventually use to help others.
Dudley, who was born with cerebral palsy, willed some $300,000 to the Salisbury University Foundation, establishing the first endowment fund in the University System of Maryland for a scholarship dedicated to graduate students with disabilities.
Lindsay McGowan was the first SU student to benefit from Dudley’s generosity. A two-year recipient of the award, she is pursuing a Master of Social Work.
“Without it I would not have been able to fulfill this interest,” said McGowan, who also earned her B.A. in Social Work from SU. “There’s not a lot of financial help out there for disabled people in graduate school, so I’m very glad to be able to continue my education at SU. It’s been a good experience.”
Cheryl Hartnett of Salisbury was the second Dudley scholarship recipient. She was awarded it last fall and is pursuing a Master of English with a concentration in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). As someone who speaks French and English, she understands the emotional side of learning another language and has gained extensive professional insight from the program so she can help others through the process.
“The scholarship has enabled me to get an education without going into debt and I’m really grateful for the financial support,” said Hartnett, who also earned a BFA from SU in 2000. “I have a fairly mild handicap but it still does affect me and this scholarship has allowed me to go back to school.”
Raised in the Baltimore area, Dudley graduated from Towson University and served as a long-time advocate for disabled persons with organizations including the United Cerebral Palsy Association and the Maryland Development Disabilities Council.
According to family and acquaintances, Dudley, who died in December 2001 at age 53, had a sharp, sensitive mind. The scholarship is a continuation of his family’s abiding faith in the power of education to change lives.
Limited graduate-level funding for those with disabilities was one reason Dudley created his scholarship, but his decision was also influenced by his cousin, Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach, who introduced him to SU when she became its President in 2000.
“I was fortunate to have a cousin like Rick,” Dudley-Eshbach said. “He was an extremely intelligent, fun-loving and caring individual. Though he initially had planned to establish a scholarship fund for College Park or Towson University students, he came to see Salisbury University as the ideal place for students with disabilities to pursue higher education.” SU’s flat, compact 140-acre campus boasts a wheel-chair friendly pedestrian mall and buildings that are close together and easily accessible.
The Dudley scholarship provides disabled scholars up to $5,000 a year for three years. For more information call the Provost’s Office at 410-548-4085.