- Typically 1 per year
A scholarship in memory of Brian Smith is keeping his passion for learning alive even though the University of Nebraska–Lincoln student's life was cut short one year ago.
A massive heart attack while on a spring break study trip was the only sign of a pre-existing health condition. Smith died March 15, 2008, while he and other College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources students were on an 11-day study trip in Puerto Rico.
Family, friends, professors and fellow students have participated in fundraisers since Smith's death to create the Brian M. Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation. Numerous donors have given more than $11,000 to the fund that provides scholarships to students in the college and donations are still being accepted to the fund.
"While a student in the fisheries and wildlife degree program, Brian grew into a confident, successful and academically accomplished young adult," said Jo Ann Smith, Brian's mother. "He was happily pursuing his love of nature and he was excited about the endless possibilities in his future. The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources played a major role in how Brian viewed himself and the world around him."
"This scholarship honors his love of study and it honors the place where Brian was enjoying life and learning at the time of his death."
Creating the scholarship seemed like a natural step to honor Brian's memory.
"Brian himself benefited from many scholarships and grants while attending high school and UNL," said John Smith, Brian's father. "We know that Brian would be pleased with this endeavor."
Creating the scholarship was John Smith's idea, according to Dave Titterington, founder of the Wild Bird Habitat Store in Lincoln where Brian worked part time.
"How cool is it to memorialize Brian with a perpetual scholarship?" Titterington said. "This was an unbelievable shock, but it has had a positive outcome. This memorializes Brian's life and it lets people know that their admiration and their donations have an extremely positive end result. Somebody will benefit from this scholarship for years to come."