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Potential scholarship to remember UNF Alumna

Valeree Del Guidice

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Sarah Patterson was a bright young woman with a passion for equal rights and social justice. Last summer, at the age of 31, she lost her life in a tragic accident. Now, a close friend is attempting to start a new scholarship in her memory. 

Steve Janowicz
UNF Alumna Sarah Patterson.

An alum of the University of North Florida, Patterson grew up in government housing. After losing a full-ride academic and athletic scholarship to another university due to a chronic form of cancer, she applied and was accepted to UNF.

“She was chronically dealing with cancer and was occasionally going through chemotherapy. [She] put herself completely through college and graduate school,” Jennifer Wesely, a criminal justice and criminology professor, explained. “She just did not want to ever return to the kind of social conditions she dealt with growing up. She was really determined to succeed.”

As a member of the LGBT community, Patterson was a strong advocate for equal rights for LGBT citizens.

After Patterson’s sudden accident, Wesely decided to establish a scholarship in her name to honor her legacy.

“Given how much she loved school, I felt like establishing a scholarship in her name was something that would be very appropriate for her,” Wesely stated.

The scholarship will be called the Sarah Patterson Social Justice Memorial Scholarship. It will award deserving students with $2,500 per academic year. Undergraduate students would need at least a 2.5 GPA and Graduate students would need at least a 3.0 GPA to qualify. They would also need to submit a one to two-page essay describing how they demonstrate advocacy for justice and equality among minority and/or LGBT populations.

In order to make the scholarship official, UNF is requiring that there be a minimum of $10,000 before it can start to be awarded to students. Wesely is currently holding a fundraiser to reach that $10,000 minimum. As of today, the fund has raised $4,975. Any amount of donations are welcome.

The current platform will close on May 1 and can be found here.

After May 1, donations will still be accepted but the link will then be moved to here. It is important to remember to drop down the designation prompt and select ‘other’ and write in ‘Sarah Patterson Social Justice Memorial Scholarship’ on this site.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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