Tuesday August 5, 2008

Loiselle Scholarship Has Illinois Connection

Maryjo Pirages of Rockford, Ill., is the first winner of scholarship in memory of Bloomington, Ill., resident Garrett Loiselle.

Maryjo Pirages' dream is to become the first female mayor of her hometown, Rockford, Ill. A scholarship created in memory of University of Dayton graduate Garrett Loiselle — who grew up two hours down Interstate 39 in Bloomington, Ill. — will help her toward that goal.

Pirages is the first winner of the scholarship, which the Gamma Epsilon Lambda fraternity established last year to honor Loiselle. The scholarship award winner must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average, be a member of a service organization on campus, work during the school year and show leadership qualities.

Loiselle was a member of Gamma Epsilon Lambda, a service and leadership fraternity that performs a wide variety of service for agencies such as Ronald McDonald House and the Children's Miracle Network. Loiselle died May 12, 2007, of natural causes related to an enlarged heart during a popular UD student trip to Daytona Beach, Fla., after the end of the school year. He had just graduated just a week earlier with a bachelor's degree in finance.

Pirages is a member of the UD's student leadership council, a member of Big Brother Big Sisters, a board member of UD's student judicial board and a campus minister. She plans on attending law school to study health or family law. Pirages, a graduate of Boylan Catholic High School, is a senior majoring in English and political science.

Brad Balser, assistant director of UD's office of student involvement and leadership, wrote in his recommendation letter that Pirages "far surpasses expectations both in and out of the classroom. She is a true scholar. Her mature, responsible demeanor and commitment to being a respected role model has aided in establishing solid credibility with faculty, staff and students."

To donate to the Garrett Loiselle Memorial Scholarship, send your contribution to: Garrett Loiselle Memorial Scholarship, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, OH, 45469. Donations also can be made online at http://gift.udayton.edu.

"My family is very pleased to learn the first scholarship in Garrett's name has been awarded," said Kerry Loiselle, Garrett's father. "A lot of people have contributed time, money and hard work to make this wonderful memorial a reality. The Loiselle family has been comforted by and feel the blessings and prayers from the extended UD family and friends. We are sure that Maryjo Pirage is a wonderful young woman and truly deserving of this scholarship."

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or srobinson@udayton.edu.