Dreams Remembered, Realized

Lasting Tributes through CSM Memorial Scholarships

Often, there is nothing beyond grief that a family can imagine following the passing of a child. The memories are strong, the hurt unbearable. But for several Southern Maryland families, the creation of a memorial scholarship fund to benefit students at the College of Southern Maryland has provided a sense of hope and healing.  In creating a scholarship in memory of a former CSM student with dreams and aspirations, these families are not only providing a lasting tribute to their children, but are also supporting the dreams and aspirations of others. Here are their stories.


Brock Nikolas Guerrieri Memorial Scholarship, established Feb. 20, 2009

From the day he was born, John and Caroline Guerrieri, of Chesapeake Beach, had big dreams for their son Brock. In Brock they had a son who loved the outdoors, loved the water, loved sports, loved travel—and loved sticky rice. He also loved helping people. It was that love of people that led him to consider a career in nursing, which began with him enrolling in the pre-nursing program at the College of Southern Maryland.

            “Brock always gave more of himself than he got back from others. He was a helping kind of person—a giving person,” said Caroline Guerrieri. “He wanted to go into nursing for that reason.”

            Unfortunately, Brock’s dream of being a nurse would never be fulfilled as he died last November in a car crash. The Guerrieris remember spending the next few months in a fog.

            “Over time we began thinking of ways to remember Brock in a positive way,” John Guerrieri said. “We already had a [financial] plan for his college and thought that maybe someone else could benefit—someone else could take on the nursing career that Brock would have had.”

            In February 2009, the Guerrieris created the Brock Nikolas Guerrieri Memorial Scholarship Fund to support a second-year Calvert County nursing student at CSM. This fall will be the first time it is awarded to a CSM student in Brock’s memory.


Neale Chaney Slater Endowment Fund, established July 24, 2006

“Neale was the fourth generation of our family that was a member of the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department,” said his mother Ellie Slater of her son’s passion for public safety work. “Neale’s great-grandfather and grandfather where among the founding members of that fire department.” Neale was also a member of the Mechanicsville Volunteer Rescue Squad. Ellie Slater said that she wanted to continue to support the things that Neale liked, and so the Neale Chaney Slater Endowment Fund was established with that in mind.

Neale Slater, who attended CSM as a student in the fire science program and who was a Maryland State Police cadet, died in April 2005 following a car crash. He was always into fire and rescue work, said his mother, but when he joined a state trooper friend on a patrol, he was hooked on police work.

Neale Slater had attended Leonard Hall Junior Naval Academy in Leonardtown and graduated as the school’s top military student. He had also taken classes at CSM. The scholarship joins LHJNA and CSM by giving scholarships to CSM students who are graduates of the academy, who are members of a volunteer fire department or rescue squad, or who are students majoring in criminal justice or fire science.

            A recipient of the Neale Chaney Slater Endowment Fund, Don Coleman of Chaptico, knew of Neale Slater while at LHJNA and learned of the scholarship through a mutual friend. “It is very generous and brave of them to do this after something as horrible as the tragedy of losing a son,” Coleman said of the Slaters. “I think it is very nice that [Neale] will be remembered by the people who will receive the scholarship.”

            Coleman, who used his scholarship to attend two CSM classes this spring, is on track to graduate with an associate in computer science in 2011 and hopes to transfer to Salisbury University or UMUC.

            “We wanted this to be a wonderful tribute to Neale,” said Ellie Slater, “and it is.”


Walter B. Grove II Memorial Scholarship Endowment, established Dec. 14, 1999

Walter B. Grove II Memorial Student Art Gallery, established 2001

            Jane and Walter Grove wanted to do something meaningful to honor their son Walter B. Grove II after his death at age 26 in 1999. Their son had received an associate degree in general studies from CSM with an emphasis in studio art. “CSM is where he re-discovered his passion for art,” said Walter Grove.

            The Groves donated all new easels for the studio art classrooms in 1999. They heard about a state program that matched endowment funds. Within a year of their son’s death, the Groves had set up a scholarship fund and began receiving donations from family and friends. Through Christmas gift donations—from their youngest great nieces, who were ages 4, 7 and 9 in 2007 when they first made a donation, to Walter’s grandmother, now age 102—the fund has grown. Today the Walter B. Grove II Memorial Scholarship Endowment awards scholarships to four students each year.

            “I take pictures of the artwork at the Annual Student Juried Art Show to share with family and friends so they can see how their donations are being used,” said Jane Grove of the photographs, sculptures, watercolors and oil paintings presented by CSM’s most promising artists.

One of the four recipients of the Grove scholarship for the 2009-2010 school year is Diane Payne of Waldorf who showed several of her photographs at this year’s student art show. “This was the first scholarship that I applied for and I can’t believe that I won,” said Payne who submitted a resume and 10 photo prints for consideration as part of the application.

            “I like to think about the pictures I take,” said Payne. “My previous classes—graphic design and color theory—have helped me with my photographs.” Payne will take an intermediate photography class this fall with the scholarship award. “I am not sure what I am going to pursue with my photography skills, but I am inspired by [local] photographer Gary Smith,” said Payne. Smith’s memorial exhibit is on display in the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery on CSM’s La Plata Campus through Aug. 28.

“I love walking inside the Fine Arts Building, because I know Walter was happy here,” said Jane Grove of the building that houses a theater, studio art classrooms and a gallery on CSM’s La Plata Campus.

“Walter loved all of the arts but he especially loved books, he loved music and he loved this school,” Jane and Walter Grove said. “And we hope he would have loved what we are doing to honor him.”


Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery, established through the Tony Hungerford Endowment for the Arts, March 9, 2000

When Evelyn (Evie) Hungerford remembers her son Tony, it is as a fun-loving, musical character; a dreamer and an artist. And that is how she wants others to remember him as well.

            Following her son’s death in 1998 at age 34, Evie Hungerford unexpectedly found a way to honor her son’s life with the help of some business associates. Working as a marketing representative for Legend Development Company, she had learned that the firm was looking to create an endowment, but with a personal touch. When Legend client Charles Ellison learned of her son’s death, he approached her with the offer to create that endowment in her son’s name.

            “It is hard to imagine that a client would do something so extraordinary,” she said.

The idea came full circle 10 years ago when colleagues and friends, knowing the Hungerford family’s love of the arts, suggested creating an endowment for the Fine Arts Center Gallery at the college. The naming of the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery came about from a “synergy of people all wanting to do good things following Tony’s death,” Evie Hungerford said.

With the October 1998 naming and dedication of the Tony Hungerford Memorial Art Gallery, housed in the Fine Arts Center at the La Plata Campus, Hungerford and husband Vince began to heal from their tragic loss, but they never imagined the gift would thrive into a legacy on its own merits.

Evie Hungerford is glad that the gallery is growing and that it adds a dimension of diversity to Southern Maryland. “The community can come out to the Fine Arts Center to see a Salsa performance and also take in artwork from outside our region,” said Evie Hungerford who also served as chair of the CSM Foundation for two of her 10 years on the board. “The gallery may be small,” she said, “but it’s mighty!”


“We are grateful that this is a place where people can create a tribute to their loved ones, and we are honored that the legacy of giving through memorial scholarships has provided families with some small measure of healing through their continued connections to the college,” said Michelle Goodwin, CSM’s vice president of advancement.  “For example, recently, the family and friends of well-known local photographer Gary Smith established a memorial scholarship in Gary’s name that will help CSM students studying in the fields of communications, photography, visual arts and music. What a humbling and rewarding experience it is to work with families to memorialize their parents, children, friends while impacting the futures of students they don’t even know. Now, that is powerful!”

To create a memorial scholarship, contact the CSM Foundation at 310-934-7635.  CSM Foundation scholarship applications for the 2009-2010 academic year are now online. Preference will be given to applications submitted by July 15. Applications received after that date will be considered until all scholarships are awarded.

To use CSM’s Scholarship Finder visit http://www.csmd.edu/financial/scholarships/. For information on scholarships and financial aid assistance at CSM call 301-934-7531 or 301-870-2309, 240-725-5499 or 443-550-6199, Ext. 7531. For information on the CSM Foundation, visit www.csmd.edu/Foundation/.