CSM scholarship gets boost from grandson’s birthday
Donations to the Charles K. Walsh Memorial Scholarship honor longtime local educator
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.