(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – Gina Galetti’s college career at UCM was cut short in 1987 when she suffered a brain aneurism and died during her senior year as a public relations major.
Her death left her family heartbroken yet motivated to start their own endowed scholarship in Gina’s name to help UCM students like her.
So far, about 350 families like the Galettis have honored those they love or the departments, social clubs or organizations that inspired them by creating endowed scholarships.
“The process of starting a family endowed scholarship takes at least a full calendar year,” said Vicki Voskovitch, financial counselor for the UCM Foundation.
Shortly after Joe Galetti’s daughter died, the UCM fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon and other Greek organizations held a small memorial service at the Alumni Memorial Chapel. It was then that Galetti said he decided to give back to those students and to those who would follow.
“When all the Greeks came together, I was very impressed,” he said. “I wanted to help them.”
Nearly two decades later, the Galetti family has reached their goal of raising $100,000 so the Galetti scholarship could be a part of UCM for many years to come.
Voskovitch said the foundation’s goal is to award as much money as possible, “even if we chase them (the students) down to apply.”
“There are over 13,000 students enrolled and about 3,500 apply,” she said. “We just wished more students would apply.”
Voskovitch said alumni enjoy meeting the students who earn their scholarships and reading their thank you notes.
The Galetti family gives four scholarships each year in remembrance of their daughter. Gina was a member of the Sigma Kappa social sorority, a sister sorority of Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity, and now her scholarship awards those who are active members of these two social groups. A third scholarship honors dependents of a Kansas City firefighter because Gina was also the daughter of a KCMO firefighter. The fourth scholarship honors graduates of Gina’s alma mater, North Kansas City High School, and students with good leadership skills who are actively involved on campus.
The Almaguer family of Cincinnati, Ohio, created a scholarship in 2012 in honor of their parents and also to recognize students interested in Mexican-American heritage and activities. The name of their endowment is The Dr. Jose D. and Mrs. Theresa R. Almaguer Family Scholarship. Jose and Theresa Almaguer came from humble beginnings, having immigrated to the United States as young children with their parents, according to the foundation website.
“Through hard work, determination, and perseverance, both overcame prejudice and other hardships to earn advanced educational degrees,” according to the website.
With the Almaguer family’s contributions, they hope to help students interested in Mexican-American heritage pursue their dreams and make a positive contribution to society by educating others on Mexican-American heritage.
Susan and Steven Beebe took their passion for UCM to another level. They wrote a public speaking textbook and used their royalties to help students of the UCM forensics debate team. The Beebes first met as members of the Talking Mules debate team and went on to find careers in higher education. Both are faculty members at Texas State University-San Marcos. Susan serves as director of lower-division studies for the department of English, and Steve is a distinguished professor and chair of the department of communication studies and associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
The Susan and Steven Beebe Debate Scholarship benefits students involved in the UCM forensics program who are pursuing a major or minor within the department of communication. Susan graduated from UCM in 1973 and her husband, Steven, graduated in 1972. Susan Beebe said their public speaking textbook has been used by the university for several decades and is now in its 10th edition.
Tayia Gibson, sophomore political science and international studies major and recipient of the Beebe scholarship, said she is thankful for the scholarship. She said the Beebes’ generosity shows that “other alumni are willing to invest in me and my education.”
Tyler Slinkard, senior political science major, said the Beebes’ scholarship makes it possible for him to go to school. He said he was happy to be able to meet the Beebes in person when they recently visited campus. He said he let them know the impact they had on his college career.
Students can go to MoCents under their student accounts and apply for hundreds of scholarships that families like the Galettis, Almaguers and Beebes created. Students may also apply for individual scholarships by visiting www.ucmo.edu/foundation/.