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Friday, January 4, 2013

$10,000 Goal Set for Salisbury's Promise Scholarship Endowment


Salisbury Award
Art Cooley, chairman of the board of trustees for the Salisbury Award, presents the award to Dr. George Whitehead, right. (Photo by Todd Dudek)

SALISBURY, MD---When Dr. George Whitehead of Salisbury University’s Psychology Department received the community’s oldest civic honor — the prestigious Salisbury Award — for his work with area youth, it provided a chance to do even more good.

Whitehead used its $500 cash to begin an endowment for a new Salisbury’s Promise Scholarship through the Salisbury University Foundation, Inc.

“I didn’t want to spend the $500 and use it all at once,” he said. “I wanted to use it to start something, and I really wanted it to be focused on service.”

Once fully funded at $10,000, the endowment is expected to provide an annual $500 scholarship for SU students.

In determining the specifics of the scholarship, Whitehead drew on several passions. As a former Wicomico County Board of Education member, he wanted the award to be reserved for students from the county. As the project director for SU’s AmeriCorps chapter, ShoreCorps/Partnership for Adolescents on the Lower Shore (PALS), he also wanted the recipient to demonstrate a commitment to community service.

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After discussing options with SU Foundation officials and learning that scholarship options for students traditionally are fewer after their freshman year, he decided to make the award available only to sophomores.

Even the name of the scholarship stemmed from one of Whitehead’s interests. As the chairman of Salisbury’s Promise: The Alliance for Youth, he works to provide the organization’s “Five Promises” — caring adults, safe places, healthy starts, marketable skills and opportunities to serve — to youth throughout the county. Though the scholarship is not directly related to his duties with that organization, he hopes its legacy will be similar: making a difference in the lives of young people.

Whitehead is optimistic about reaching the $10,000 endowment funding goal with the help of others in the community. In fact, he already has plans for exceeding that goal.

“More money would give us the opportunity to help more people,” he said. “If we reach $20,000, that would mean two $500 scholarships each year.”

At least one other community member also is optimistic. According to Jason Curtin, assistant director of the SU Foundation, an anonymous donor has pledged to match contributions to the endowment up to $5,000.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact Curtin at

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