CSM schol­ar­ship gets boost from grand­son’s birth­day

Do­na­tions to the Charles K. Walsh Memo­rial Schol­ar­ship honor long­time lo­cal ed­u­ca­tor

Maryland Independent - - Front Page -

Eight-year-old Evan Walsh Gurk­lis of Red Lion, Pa., could not wait to cel­e­brate his birth­day in Novem­ber. He planned to in­vite team­mates from his fall base­ball league team and friends from his sec­ond-grade class. He begged his par­ents to have the party at a large sports com­plex near his home. And his plans had noth­ing to do with him­self.

In­stead, Evan’s birth­day plans would have a far­away im­pact on the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. Rather than bring­ing gifts, Evan asked his birth­day guests to donate to a CSM schol­ar­ship fund, the Charles K. Walsh Memo­rial Schol­ar­ship. The schol­ar­ship was es­tab­lished in 2016 to honor Evan’s “Paw Paw,” his grand­fa­ther and a long­time ed­u­ca­tor in South­ern Mary­land died in April 2016 and would have cel­e­brated his 77th birth­day this past Fe­bru­ary, the re­lease states.

Evan’s friends re­sponded with en­thu­si­asm to his re­quest, with $300 given for Evan to gift to his grand­fa­ther’s memo­rial schol­ar­ship.

The Charles K. Walsh Memo­rial Schol­ar­ship was es­tab­lished by Walsh’s three chil­dren, Kath­leen Walsh (Evan’s mother), Thomas Walsh and Julie Fiol, “to help stu­dents at the Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land to re­al­ize their pas­sion, po­ten­tial and fu­ture with fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for tu­ition, fees, and books.” The schol­ar­ship sup­ports South­ern Mary­land res­i­dents who demon­strate fi­nan­cial need with a pref­er­ence for St. Mary’s County stu­dents ma­jor­ing in STEM, teacher ed­u­ca­tion, hu­man ser­vices or so­cial sci­ences and who are tra­di­tion­ally un­der­rep­re­sented in their field of study.

Commemorating their fa­ther with a schol­ar­ship was an ideal way to honor the long­time ed­u­ca­tor, ac­cord­ing to Kath­leen, or “Kat,” Evan’s mother. Charles Walsh was in­ter­ested in ev­ery­one hav­ing a chance to suc­ceed, she said, de­scrib­ing him as in­cred­i­bly ded­i­cated to his craft. Even af­ter 50 years in ed­u­ca­tion, “he was still try­ing to be bet­ter,” she said. “I love that.”

His 50-year career in math and chem­istry ed­u­ca­tion in­cluded years teach­ing at both pri­vate and pub­lic schools in the re­gion, more than 20 years with St. Mary’s County Pub­lic Schools (in­clud­ing ser­vice as su­per­vi­sor of math­e­mat­ics) and as an ad­junct and then as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at CSM.

The in­au­gu­ral Brick Recog­ni­tion Cer­e­mony at the Leonard­town Cam­pus held last year on April 27, not long af­ter Charles Walsh died, in­cluded a brick placed in Walsh’s mem­ory.

Shortly af­ter Evan’s birth­day, the CSM Foun­da­tion pub­licly launched its $10-mil­lion “Make An Im­pact” cam­paign Nov. 29, 2016, on Giv­ing Tues­day, giv­ing the com­mu­nity a chance to par­tic­i­pate in the cam­paign that will ben­e­fit schol­ar­ships, pro­grams/fa­cil­i­ties and en­tre­pre­neur part­ner­ships at the col­lege. It was dur­ing that event when Evan do­nated his $300 in birth­day gifts to the Charles K. Walsh Memo­rial Schol­ar­ship. He was not alone. The Walsh schol­ar­ship brought in more than $2,500. Al­to­gether, the event raised $70,152 from 271 donors.

The Walsh Schol­ar­ship is one of the many schol­ar­ships that have been cre­ated in mem­ory of CSM fac­ulty and staff, which in­clude: the Pro­fes­sor Wil­liam “Bill” Mont­gomery Memo­rial An­nual Schol­ar­ship, es­tab­lished by CSM fac­ulty and staff in mem­ory of CSM Pro­fes­sor Bill Mont­gomery, and an en­dowed schol­ar­ship named af­ter the pro­fes­sor, es­tab­lished by his wife, Su­san Mont­gomery, to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for CSM stu­dents who demon­strate fi­nan­cial need and have over­come a hard­ship; the Su­san N. Behmke Legacy Schol­ar­ship, es­tab­lished by the CSM Health Sci­ences Di­vi­sion in honor of for­mer CSM Nurs­ing Pro­fes­sor Su­san Behmke to as­sist first- or sec­ond-se­mes­ter stu­dents from the tri-county area in the prac­ti­cal al­lied health/nurs­ing, nurse or as­so­ciate de­gree nurs­ing pro­grams; the Re­nee Mun­day Math Schol­ar­ship, es­tab­lished by CSM staff in mem­ory of CSM staff mem­ber Re­nee Mun­day to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for non-tra­di­tional aged stu­dents re­sid­ing in Charles County who are en­rolled at CSM as a part-time stu­dent; and the Sid­ney John Fran­cis Waugh, Sr. Memo­rial Schol­ar­ship, es­tab­lished by the Waugh fam­ily in mem­ory of CSM Staff Mem­ber Sid­ney Waugh, Sr. to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance for both credit and con­tin­u­ing ed­u­ca­tion stu­dents who re­side in Bel Al­ton or New­burg in Charles County.

“Th­ese schol­ar­ships truly re­flect the close fam­ily we be­come as fac­ulty and staff at CSM and demon­strate the CSM love that goes be­yond the work­place,” said De­vel­op­ment Di­rec­tor Chelsea Brown. “Th­ese peo­ple made such an im­pact on the lives around them that others turn around and cre­ate a schol­ar­ship in their mem­ory.” She added that cel­e­brat­ing the sto­ries be­hind the many memo­rial schol­ar­ships at CSM is par­tic­u­larly ap­pro­pri­ate in Fe­bru­ary, as the col­lege cel­e­brates CSM Love, a month-long ef­fort for the col­lege to show ex­tra ap­pre­ci­a­tion to CSM stu­dents, staff and com­mu­nity mem­bers for their con­tri­bu­tion to stu­dent life and the col­lege fam­ily.

For in­for­ma­tion about cre­at­ing an an­nual or en­dowed schol­ar­ship at CSM, call 301-934-7649 or email CSMFoun­da­tion@csmd.edu.


Evan Walsh Gurk­lis, 8, stands be­hind the walk­way brick commemorating his grand­fa­ther, Charles K. Walsh, at CSM’s Leonard­town Cam­pus on April 27. Dr. Kat Walsh, stands be­hind, hold­ing Liam Walsh Gurk­lis, 4, with Mike Gurk­lis, in back. Rose Walsh Gurk­lis, 11, is in front, with Julie Fiol of Bel Air and her hus­band, Mike Fiol.

Evan Walsh Gurk­lis, 8, of Red Lion, Pa., grins for the cam­era at his birth­day party in Novem­ber.

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