A late West Virginia University graduate’s legacy of caring for young people will live on through an endowed scholarship established in her memory by family and friends.

Jennifer Marie Baxter died in 2002 after contracting a fatal lung disease – just one year after earning her degree in childhood development and family studies from WVU.

“Her love of children fueled her passion for her studies, and was apparent in her relationships with her younger cousins. From lifeguarding at a local pool to interning at WVU Children’s Hospital, Jennifer lived her life to serve young people,” said Starlyn Baxter, Jennifer’s mother.

Since her daughter’s death, Baxter has been collecting donations from family and friends to create an endowed scholarship in her memory.

“It just seemed a natural progression to take the money that was given in her memory and invest it toward a scholarship,” explained Baxter. “It was all because of her love for children and her studies that we created one to benefit students studying child development.”

The $25,000 gift will provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students with financial need who are majoring in child development and family studies in WVU’s College of Education and Human Services.

Though Jennifer never had any need for financial aid during her time at WVU thanks to a college fund established by her late father, she always had a desire to help other students. Through the Jennifer Marie Baxter Memorial Scholarship, she now is able to fulfill that dream, Baxter said.

“The College of Education and Human Services is grateful to the family of Jennifer Marie Baxter who has created the Jennifer Marie Baxter Memorial Scholarship,” said Dr. Lynne Schrum, dean of the College. “Ms. Baxter was dedicated to her work in the child life hospital program and her internship was especially valuable to her. This is a wonderful example of alumni and friends giving forward through a living memorial in support of education in West Virginia.”

Baxter is also a WVU graduate and Morgantown native, having received her bachelor’s in theater history. After graduation, she worked in Washington D.C. at Arena Stage until the U.S. Army recruited her to run a theater program in Atlanta, Ga. Baxter is now semi-retired, working at a local credit union in Conyers, Ga. Her other daughter, Rachel, lives in Tennessee and is married with two children.

The gift was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750-million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015. More info: www.astateofminds.com



CONTACT: Bill Nevin, WVU Foundation
304-284-4056; wnevin@wvuf.org

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