Each spring semester the Program of Mortuary Science offers scholarships to students enrolled in the Program.
James Ellison Memorial Scholarship Fund
The James Ellison Memorial Scholarship was established by Sally and Carsten Ellison to honor the memory of their son James, who was a student in the Program of Mortuary Science. James was committed to a career in funeral service, with the goal of helping others during the most difficult times of their lives. James was conferred his degree in mortuary science posthumously in the Spring of 2002.
A scholarship is to be awarded each year to a student enrolled in the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota, who has demonstrated through their work, service, and academic-related activities outstanding potential as a future funeral director and public servant.
Epstein Family Scholarship Fund
The Epstein Family Scholarship Fund is a life long culmination for Henry L. Epstein, who graduated from the Program of Mortuary Science in 1967. The Scholarship Fund recognizes that the extraordinary education which Henry received from the University has allowed him to continue in a rewarding and fulfilling career. Along with Henry, his son Michael graduated from the Program in 1998, followed by his sister Dr. Teri Bretz in 2015. It truly has been a program that has rewarded the entire family and motivated them to give back to the Program through the scholarship. The fund is established to promote funeral service education and to help develop future leaders in the profession. The Epstein family is proud to be involved in leadership roles within their community, as well as owning funeral homes that recognize the importance of giving back to the community.
O.J. and Karen Fawcett Scholarship Fund
As a second-generation graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Mortuary Science, O.J. Fawcett returned home to Winona in 1962 to join his father in the family business. As a Minnesota and Wisconsin licensed funeral director, he served as president and owner of the Fawcett Funeral Home in Winona and Colby-Fawcett Funeral Home in Fountain City, Wisconsin until his retirement in 1998. Professionally, he served as president of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association 1987-1988 and as an MFDA board member 1982-1989.
O.J. was a member of the MFDA Disaster Preparedness Committee 1988-2005 and was committee chairman 1991-1998. He assisted in the preparation of the MFDA Mortuary Disaster Plan and was certified as a Qualified Mortuary Disaster Coordinator by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Funeral Directors Association. Since 1999, he’s been a member of the Federal DMORT (Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team) and has been deployed to Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and to Joplin Missouri after the 2011 tornado disaster. O.J. is currently a member of the Minnesota DMERT (Disaster Mortuary Emergency Response Team) and the Winona County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).
Community service and promotion of learning are values shared by O.J. and his wife Karen. The O.J. and Karen Fawcett Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2009. The fund recognizes the Fawcett family’s fifty year commitment to the mortuary science profession and was created to inspire and encourage future generations to pursue careers in mortuary science.
Roy D. Havenor Scholarship
Scholarship was established through a gift from the estate of Roy D. Havenor (’41) to further the education of promising Program of Mortuary students.
Leo A. Hodroff Scholarship Fund
Established in 2008 by Mr. Leo A. Hodroff (’37) with a gift of $200,000, the Leo A. Hodroff Scholarship Fund recognizes and memorializes the Hodroff family’s contributions to the mortuary science profession.
The Hodroff family funeral homes have served countless families in the Minneapolis-St. Paul community during their time of loss and bereavement. Companies owned by Leo A. Hodroff, including L. H. Kellogg Chemical Company and Kelco Supply Company, have provided outstanding service and support to funeral service professionals for decades.
Mr. Hodroff created this legacy because he felt strongly that the education he received from the University of Minnesota had contributed to his success in life. Mr. Hodroff was a life-long benefactor to the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota.
Mr. Hodroff chose the following text, taken from Jewish historical commentary, as a means of expressing his belief in the importance of education:
“Learning must be sought; it will not come of itself.” Midrash Mishlé, 2.4.
Richard P. Hurley Scholarship Fund
The Hurley Family is pleased to establish the Richard P. Hurley Scholarship Fund to honor a lifetime of commitment to funeral service.
Mr. Hurley lost his father at the age of three and was raised, along with his older brother Jay, by his mother and her family who owned Pfetzing Funeral Home in Havana, IL. Mr. Hurley attended the University of Illinois and then Worsham’s College of Embalming in Chicago, graduating in 1940. After serving in the US Army in Europe during WWII, Richard returned home to join his grandfather in the family business, serving Havana and the surrounding communities as owner and operator of Hurley Funeral Home until his death in 2011.
Mr. Hurley believed that a good education was necessary to succeed in funeral service. As a result of this belief, Mr. Hurley insisted that his son Jerry attend the University of Minnesota Program of Mortuary Science in 1967 and receive a four year degree if he wanted to join in the family business. Likewise, his grandson, Michael, also earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the Program of Mortuary Science in 2000.
A scholarship will be awarded each year in Mr. Hurley’s name to a student enrolled in the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota who shows not only academic achievement, but also professionalism and leadership towards the future of funeral service.
Ruth Jacobs Mortuary Science Scholarship
Scholarship was established through a gift from the estate of Ruth Jacobs to further the education of promising Program of Mortuary students.
Joseph Kapala and Thomas Glodek Mortuary Science Scholarship
Annual scholarship funded by Thomas Glodek (’58) in honor of his mentor, Joseph Kapala(’47).
Minnesota Funeral Directors Association Past Presidents Scholarship Fund
For over two decades the past presidents of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association (MFDA) have generously supported scholarships for students enrolled in the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota.
In support of their steadfast commitment to funeral service education, in 2007 a new permanently-endowed scholarship fund was established by MFDA past presidents. This fund was made possible with contributions totaling in excess of $25,000, given by past presidents between 2005 and 2007.
The purpose of the fund is to provide one or more scholarships annually to students enrolled in the University of Minnesota’s Program of Mortuary Science.
The Minnesota Funeral Directors Association Past Presidents Endowed Scholarship Fund honors the professional contribution of the Minnesota Funeral Directors Association and its leadership, especially the organization’s past presidents. The goal of the fund is to insure the highest quality training for future generations of Minnesota funeral directors.
Robert C. Slater Memorial Scholarship Fund
The Robert C. Slater Scholarship, established in 1989 through the support of his colleagues in funeral service, his friends, and his family, continues to support Dr. Robert Slater's commitment to students entering the funeral service profession and to encourage the continued study of helping those who experience a death and grief.
Robert C. Slater was born in Isanti, Minnesota, in 1923. He graduated from Cambridge High School in 1940 and from the University of Minnesota in Mortuary Science in 1942. He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, and received a Purple Heart after being wounded at Guadalcanal. He returned to the University to complete his bachelor of science degree in education, and then began teaching full time at the University of Minnesota's Department of Mortuary Science in 1947. He was named Director of the department in 1961 and awarded his full professorship in 1963. With his leadership, the Mortuary Science program grew from a two year associate degree to a four year bachelor of science degree in 1968. He retired in 1989.
Dr. Slater was a consultant and frequent speaker for the Minnesota and National Funeral Directors Associations and served as member and officer of many state and national boards. He established the Academy of Professional Funeral Service Practice. He also established professional friendships with colleagues in the field in Canada, Great Britain, France, and Germany.
Dr. Slater's commitment to helping people understand death and grief led him to develop written and visual materials which he used when conducting seminars for clergy, medical personnel, and educators. He generously allowed these pioneering materials and programs to be replicated throughout the country. He established summer courses at the U of M, Minneapolis, for elementary and secondary teachers to encourage school curriculum in grief and death.
Dr. Slater served on the Board of Trustees for both Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary and Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Minnesota Synod Board for the Lutheran Church in America. In 1975, Northwestern Lutheran Seminary awarded him an honorary degree, Doctorate of Humane Letters.