A scholarship for students with physical disabilities received new funding this spring from the estate of the donor. As a result, awards under the will rise sharply from $4,850, the amount available this academic year, to roughly double that amount in 2014-2015.
Still, someone has to claim the money. The Eaton Scholarship, which was last awarded in 2009, is intended to make the highest quality education affordable for people with major physical challenges other than hearing or visual impairment. Bette Eaton suffered rheumatic fever and acute juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that put her in a wheelchair shortly after her ninth birthday. With the support of her parents, she received a solid education from tutors and private schools through college. She died in 2002 at the age of 80, leaving the scholarship bequest in her estate plan.
Keith Persico ’11, one of three recipients of the scholarship so far, said that paying for his education would have been much more difficult without Eaton’s generosity. A psychology major and member of the Psychology Club at CLU, he now works as a behavioral therapist while pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at Pepperdine University.
Persico, who has a physical developmental disability, has taken a broad interest in physical and mental health problems’ effects on adolescents and families. His goal as a therapist will be to discover “how I can help these families function better.”