Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) has established a George Floyd Memorial Scholarship, college officials announced today.

“This is the time to impact the future,” college president Dottie King wrote in a letter about Floyd's death. The letter inspired SMWC alumna and activist Katie Dougherty — a 1965 graduate — to do something.

Dougherty provided seed funds to establish the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship, and she was joined by three of her classmates to create a permanently endowed fund.

Dougherty explained, “I’ve been working on racial equality all of my adult life. This was just the right next step. The Holy Spirit inspired me, I listened for guidance, sought counsel and took action despite knowing I might meet resistance. I just knew I had to do this," according to an SMWC news release.

According to King, “This scholarship serves as a symbol of the college’s commitment to diversity and an investment in aspiring Black students.”

Classmates joining Dougherty are Mary "Bobbie" Barrett, Barbara Roguski Mandal and Catherine Cunningham, all 1965 graduates.

Unable to participate in anti-racism rallies and protests, Dougherty prayerfully considered how to best respond to the racial disparities she witnessed. “I knew I had to find a way to light my own little candle in the midst of the pandemic, economic crisis and protests against social injustice. “This [scholarship] will be the candle that I will light.”

The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship will support Black Americans undergraduate students, who are in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need. When fully endowed, the scholarship will stand at $50,000.

SMWC alumni have already contributed more than 40% of the gifts needed. Additional support from graduates and friends inspired to effect positive change will enable the scholarship to be awarded this fall.

Since 2019, SMWC annually awards Diversity Scholarships providing up to 50% tuition scholarships to students who self-identify as Asian, Black American or Hispanic on their admission application.

To learn more about scholarships at SMWC, visit, smwc.edu/scholarships.

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