Christine Martin, dean of the P.I. Reed School of Journalism at West Virginia University, has honored her father’s memory by establishing The Thomas Picarsic Scholarship in Journalism at WVU .
“My father was the smartest, wisest and kindest man I ever knew, and he worked hard his whole life so that I could have a good education,”said Martin.”When I was applying for my job as dean, I promised myself that if I got the job, I would endow a scholarship in my father’s name. It is the best way I can think of to honor this man who loved learning but never had the chance to go to school. He wanted to help students to realize their dreams, so I’m giving him that chance.”
Picarsic was one of 10 children born to immigrant parents in Pleasant Valley, Pa. His dream was a college education, but he left school and entered the coal mines after eighth grade to help support his family.
He then fought in the Pacific in World War II and stayed in military service for 13 years after the war. Despite his dream, he was never able to take advantage of the GI Bill to further his education.
He got married after leaving the military and soon had a wife and daughter in Jeanette, Pa., to support. That daughter was Christine Martin.
Martin said her father became a foundry foreman after leaving the military. He worked seven days a weeksix days at his job and the seventh helping his parents and other family members. Throughout, he faithfully read two newspapers every day.
“Journalism is how he learned about the world,”Martin said,”so I think this is a very fitting way to honor his memory.”
Martin made the gift to the WVU Foundation in conjunction with the Building
Greatness Campaign: West Virginia University. The $250 million campaign is being conducted by the Foundation on behalf of the University and has received more than $170 million toward its goal. The five-year campaign concludes Dec. 31, 2003.