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Employee's child receives campaign scholarship

By Rebecca Arrington

Kathy Kayser
First-year student Jeanie Schoolcraft (left) and her mom, U.Va. employee Valerie Schoolcraft, on move-in day, Aug.28.

Like mother, like daughter: 18-year-old Jeanie Lynn Schoolcraft plans to take psychology courses when she gets to U.Va. this fall. The entering first-year student could wind up in class with her mother, Valerie Schoolcraft, who's worked full-time at U.Va. since 1986 and is also a part-time student here, pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology, which she hopes to complete in December 2000.

Exploring financial aid opportunities for her college-bound daughter last year, Valerie Schoolcraft, an administrative assistant at the Learning Needs and Evaluation Center, read about the scholarship given annually to the child of a U.Va. employee who has been offered admission here. She made an appointment with the Financial Aid Office to learn more about it.

Jeanie, a June graduate of William Monroe High School in Greene County, was offered admission to U.Va. in the spring and learned of winning the scholarship shortly thereafter. She is the second person to receive the $2,000 undergraduate, need-based scholarship, established through the Faculty and Staff Campaign in January 1997.

Thirty-five children of U.Va. employees applied for the scholarship, according to James Ramsey Jr., associate director of financial aid, who called Jeanie's record "incredibly well-rounded."

Salutatorian of her high school class, Schoolcraft attended Governor's School for the Humanities last summer and was named in "Who's Who" among American high school students. She was 1998-99 president of her school's chapter of the Beta Club, a national academic organization dedicated to community service; a member of the band and chorus throughout high school; and finished second in the regional science fair held earlier this year.

In college, Jeanie also plans to immerse herself in her other favorite subject, Spanish. She wants to investigate the possibility of studying abroad, too. "I'd like to visit Spain," she said.

Jeanie attributes her academic success, thus far, to several of her teachers, who "made the effort to get to know you and pushed you to learn and think for yourself," she said. She also gives credit to her family. Jeanie lives with her mother; a younger sister, Katie; and her father, Gary, who works at Sears and is a chaplainšs assistant in the National Guard. The Schoolcrafts have lived in Ruckersville for 16 years.

The scholarship Schoolcraft won is a one-time award, but students have the option to reapply, Ramsey said. Larger or greater numbers of awards will be made as the endowment grows. The fund's total stood at $70,766 as of Aug. 15.

The endowment was established with a lead gift from Senior Vice President Ernest H. Ern, who served as U.Va.'s long-time Vice President for Student Affairs before assuming his current post. "With support from this fund, the children of faculty and staff will benefit from the academic excellence their parents work to sustain," he said.

U.Va. President John T. Casteen III pledged the University would match, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 contributed by employees for the scholarship.

  • Employees whose children are planning to apply to U.Va. next year should contact the Financial Aid Office in December to receive a brochure and application describing the scholarship. Financial aid can be reached by phone at 982-6000 or via e-mail at
  • The undergraduate scholarship is a University-wide goal of the Faculty and Staff Campaign, a component of the $1 billion Campaign for the University. A brochure, titled "For Our Children," is available by calling 924-7978.


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