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This spring, an annual scholarship will be awarded to a married female student pursuing a degree in education, thanks to a $250,000 donation.
Warren Martin of Honey Brook donated the money to Indiana University of Pennsylvania in memory of his deceased wife, Eileen Martin, who went to IUP as a married woman with four children at the age of 41 and graduated in 1963.
Eileen Martin went on to teach at an elementary school in the Apollo Ridge School District in Armstrong County. She taught for 21 years, Warren Martin said.
“The donation was to recognize what I thought was an unusual and exceptional achievement by a wonderful woman who turned out to be my wife,” Warren Martin said.
“I thought what she did was simply remarkable, and she did it so easily that her family, the four of us, three boys and a girl, hardly realized that she was going to school. I wanted to give to the university so that they would, in their way, recognize Eileen’s achievement.”
Beginning this February, married female education students on the verge of completing their degree with a student-teaching experience can begin applying. Applications will be due in March, according to Edward Nardi, associate dean of education at IUP.
The Eileen Martin Scholarship will be announced publicly at commencement in May, and the first award will be for the 2014-15 academic year.
“This scholarship was provided by Mr. Martin and children to honor Eileen Martin and will make a significant difference in the lives of future recipients,” Nardi said. “It will provide support for a married female student during their senior year in which they student teach.”
Students who meet the criteria and are interested in applying for the scholarship will be asked to write one paragraph detailing why they wanted to be a student at IUP.
Scholarship recipients will be known as Eileen Martin Scholars.
“I thought that was fitting, and I think Eileen would have liked that,” Warren Martin said. “I want the recipient to be able to tell the story about Eileen, and say ‘I was an Eileen Martin Scholar.’”
Students soon to be eligible for the scholarship are already preparing themselves for the upcoming application process.
“I’ll be getting married this January, and of course I’ll apply when I can,” Heather Waddell (sophomore, English education) said. “I would be a fool not to.”
Waddell said she’ll be living off campus for the rest of her college career, so the scholarship money would help her out.
“We were interested in it being a benefit to married women such as Eileen and someone whose needs increase as they advance through their classes until they become a senior and are doing student teaching,” Warren Martin said. “Then they have more needs money-wise, and so that’s the way this came to be.”
His only regret is not coming up with the idea sooner to honor his wife, who passed away June 4, 2005, Warren Martin said.
“I’m sorry it didn’t occur to me earlier,” he said.