When it comes to earning a college degree, the greatest obstacle can be funding.
For this reason, The University of Akron is pleased for the opportunity each year to assist talented, deserving students achieve their dreams, thanks to more than 1,300 named scholarships established through the kindness and generosity of thousands of UA alumni and friends, corporations, and foundations.
Scholarships truly are the best way to ensure that today’s students persist to graduation. Scholarships allow students to enroll full time and remain focused on their studies; they also reduce drop-out rates, decrease the stress of student loans, and shorten the road to graduation.
The need for scholarships grows each year, however, as students continue to face an increased financial burden in pursuit of a college degree. In fact, 94 percent of today’s baccalaureate students borrow to pay for college – versus just 45 percent in 1993. Across the country, the average college-related debt for borrowers in the class of 2016 was $37,172; for Ohio students, that figure was $30,239.
If you are interested in making a significant contribution to student success, please consider a gift to the MAKING A DIFFERENCE AND MOVING FORWARD scholarship campaign, which is the University's most important initiative. You may also establish a named scholarship at The University of Akron, which can be created to honor a living person, in memory of a loved one, or to contribute to the growth of an area of study.
To learn more, please contact the Department of Development at 330-972-7238.
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Verstraete, Joseph L. and Lois P. Engineering Scholarship
The Joseph L. and Lois P. Verstraete Engineering Scholarship was established in 2013 by Mr. and Mrs. Verstraete’s daughter, Dr. Mary C. Verstraete, as a loving tribute to her parents and with special appreciation for the patriotism and generous spirit of her father, a veteran of the United States Army and a chemical engineer.
Joseph L. Verstraete was born March 18, 1926, in Detroit. The younger son of Achiel and Gadula Verstraete, both immigrants from Belgium, he spent much of his youth working in the family butcher shop. Upon graduation from high school, Joe enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined his brother in the defense of his country during WWII. He was a ranger in the 94th Infantry Division and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. Wounded, Joe returned to the United States for intensive medical treatment to his right forearm prior to the end of the war. He received a Purple Heart and then, taking advantage of the GI Bill, completed a chemical engineering degree at the University of Detroit in 1951. He began his engineering career at Chrysler in the Defense Division in Sterling Heights, Mich.
Lois P. Verstraete was born May 5, 1930, in Detroit. The only daughter of Marguerite and Charles Lynch, Lois attended Marygrove College and received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology in 1952. Lois worked for several years as an industrial psychologist at Detroit Edison. In 1957, Lois and Joe met at a Valentine’s Day party and were married a year later.
Joe and Lois were very active in the Catholic Church and both served in many positions at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in West Bloomfield, Mich. Joe retired in 1986 and they decided to retire to Traverse City, Mich., a longtime favorite vacation spot for the family. Lois became a partner in a consignment craft store, and Joe worked as a volunteer at the Old Town Playhouse, using his engineering skills to help design and build sets for the community theater. Joe passed away in 2000 after a brief bout with leukemia. Lois passed away in 2012 due to complications from pneumonia. They will both be remembered with love by their daughters Kathleen L. Verstraete of Traverse City, Mich., and Dr. Mary C. Verstraete of Copley, Ohio, a faculty member at The University of Akron since 1988.
The Joseph L. and Lois P. Verstraete Engineering Scholarship is meant to assist promising first- and second-year students with financial need who have been admitted to the College of Engineering, with the intention to study biomedical engineering. Applications for the scholarship will be accepted from incoming freshmen and current students (using the College of Engineering General Scholarship Application) who have completed the first year, and selection will be made by the associate dean for Undergraduate Studies with input from the director of the Women in Engineering Program. Preference will be given to female students who earned a 3.5 or higher GPA in high school and/or their first year of study. Selection of the recipient for The Joseph L. and Lois P. Verstraete Engineering Scholarship will be based on both the financial need of the applicant and the completed student application. Recipients may use the award for tuition, fees, books, meal-plans and/or on-campus housing.