SALISBURY, MD---A Gallaudet University graduate who eventually hopes to teach at the college level is the recipient of Salisbury University’s Rick Dudley Scholarship.
Staci Marie Rensch of Hampstead, MD, has been awarded the scholarship, which was established by the late Bayne Richmond “Rick” Dudley to help graduate students with disabilities. Rensch is pursuing a Master of Arts in History.
“The scholarship will help with reaching my goal of earning my degree quicker because it allows me to focus on my studies,” she said. “This in turn helps broaden my career options.”
Rensch, who is deaf, earned a bachelor’s degree in history and government from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., in 1998. “I want to be a role model for my community and students,” she said. “By completing my graduate education, I can help open doors for students by showing that they can reach their goals.”
Established by Rick Dudley, who was born with cerebral palsy, the $300,000 scholarship endowment was the first in the University System of Maryland dedicated to graduate students with disabilities. A Baltimore native and Towson University alumnus, Dudley was a long-time advocate for the United Cerebral Palsy Association and Maryland Development Disabilities Council, among other organizations, before his death in 2001.
Dudley’s decision to create the scholarship was 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.”
The Dudley scholarship provides $5,000 a year for three years. In fall 2007, it was awarded to Gavin Malone of Dover, DE, who is pursing a Master of Arts in History and also plans to teach history at the high school or college-level.
“I hope to show students that the study of the past is not just about names, dates and places,” Malone said. Instead, he said it provides a context to view current events and better understand the world.
The two other past recipients are Lindsay McGowan (’07) of Timonium, MD, who earned a Master of Social Work, and Cheryl Hartnett of Salisbury who is pursuing a Master of English with a concentration in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
For more information call the Provost’s Office at 410-548-4085 or visit the SU web site at www.salisbury.edu.