By Bob Reddy (Florida Catholic)
The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. has awarded the first recipients of the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship, a new academic scholarship.
Made possible through the Catholic legacy of Mary Fran Carroll and her generous gift to the Foundation, seven academic scholarships of $3,000 each were presented to residents of Sarasota County during a May 25 ceremony at the Catholic Center in Venice.
The 2017 Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship recipients are: Sommer Altier, Booker High School; Michael Courville, Venice High School; Jeremy Crist, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School; Maximilian Konarzewski, Pine View School; Joshua Mendieta, Suncoast Polytechnical High; Haley Rosenthal, Booker High School; and Caitlin Violette, Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School.
The scholarships were open to graduating seniors and recent high school graduates from private or public high schools who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree at any accredited college or university. In addition, adult learners who were returning to school to obtain a college degree or vocational certification after being out of high school for several years, were also eligible to apply for the scholarship.
The new scholarship was announced March 23, during which Bishop Frank J. Dewane noted that Mary Fran Carroll was a successful businesswoman who dedicated her life to her faith, to fun and to charity.
“Mary Fran embodied all these things in the way she lived. Through her incredible generosity, she wants to make it possible for others to do those same things in their life,” the Bishop said.
Carroll gave a gift of $3.6 million to establish the scholarship fund to help others achieve career success through her legacy, explained Catholic Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse. Carroll was committed to providing opportunities to those individuals willing to work hard to make a difference in the community.
Morse note that each recipient of the scholarship is strongly encouraged to complete an ethics course at some point in their college career.
Scholarship applicants were asked to complete an online application and financial needs assessment in addition to submitting a clearly articulated career plan describing their chosen course of study. Traditional students needed to be accepted into an accredited college or university and non-traditional students need to be accepted into an accredited college, university or vocational program.
The Foundation Scholarship Committee carefully reviewed applications before determining the worthiest applicants. The scholarship can be used for tuition, books and fees. Scholarships may also be renewed annually up to a total of five academic years for students maintaining a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.2 or greater, while also making progress toward their career goal.
The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. was established to provide philanthropic opportunities for individuals, such as Mary Fran Carroll, to create lasting gifts in support of Catholic programs and ministries within the Diocese of Venice. Last year alone, the Foundation distributed $1.2 million in endowed support for Catholic Schools, Parishes, Seminarian education, programs for the needy, college scholarships and more.
Mary Fran Carroll retired as an executive with Northern Trust Co. in the late 1980s, before serving as CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch for more than a decade. In that role, Carroll was responsible for much of the development of Lakewood Ranch, including the Sarasota Polo Club and the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Business Park.