Thompson was a returning adult student at the college in 2004 and then, after graduating, joined the staff as the financial aid adviser. Helping students at Kodiak College reach their academic goals was a dream job for her, according to her obituary.
An example of a life-long learner, Thompson earned two associate’s degrees from the college: an associate of applied science degree in general business in 2005 and an associate of applied science degree in accounting in 2006.
It was toward the end, when Thompson knew she wouldn’t get to come home from the hospital, that she told some of her colleagues the idea for the scholarship.
“She said that she would really like it if we could set up a scholarship in her name,” said Cindy Trussell, who is on the Susan Thompson Memorial Scholarship Committee. “It was her request.”
Thompson had specific ideas about the scholarship that the committee wants to honor. She wanted the scholarship to aid a degree-seeking student and she also wanted it to go to someone attending Kodiak College, Trussell said
The scholarship committee is partnering with the nonprofit University of Alaska Foundation to get the memorial scholarship established. To get a named memorial scholarship through the UA Foundation, at least $5,000 needs to be donated in that person’s name.
“If we never reach the $5,000 mark we’ll still be able to give out scholarships, it just won’t be able to be named. So that’s the goal,” Trussell said. “Once you reach the $5,000 mark, then it’s official.”
Should the community raise $25,000 in Susan Thompson’s name, the scholarship would become an endowment capable of helping students at Kodiak College in perpetuity.
Members of the Susan Thompson Memorial Scholarship committee have already made donations to the scholarship fund to show their commitment.
The committee also includes academic counselor Barbara Brown, registrar Jennifer Pedersen, Bridget Dodge in student services and Katie Walker, former faculty in computer information and office systems.
“Presumably, if all goes well, we will be able to have enough money by May so that we will be able to award the first Susan Thompson Memorial Scholarship in the Fall of 2011,” Trussell said.
The $500 per semester scholarship could be used by students to pay for tuition, buy books or cover fees associated with attending college.
Kodiak College is now accepting donations through its Facebook page and website. Donations can be made through the college business office or checks can be sent directly to the UA Foundation. All donations should reference the Susan Thompson Memorial Scholarship.
Mirror writer Wes Hanna can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.