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Karen Gershman ’84

Karen GershmanWhen Richmond native Karen Gershman ’84 began working with her attorney on creating her estate plan, she knew she wanted to include Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters as well as some other charities that were close to her heart. As executive director of development at CHKD, Karen knows how nonprofit organizations rely on contributions from the community to continue their important work. After reviewing a draft, Karen felt something was missing. She thought back fondly to her days as an active and engaged student at Old Dominion University. She also recalled that toward the end of her junior year she applied for the merit-based Tunstall-Dabney Scholarship, through the College of Arts and Letters, which required both an application and an essay. Several months later she learned she had been selected to receive the scholarship.

“I am the youngest of three children. My parents worked hard all of their lives and willingly and unselfishly found a way to send me to college,” Karen said. “Being awarded this scholarship, which paid for my senior year tuition, made me feel like I was helping return their investment in my education and made me more invested as well.”

The memory of her scholarship sent Karen to the attic to seek out her ODU memorabilia box, where she found the copy of her application and essay. While Karen readily admits that her writing skills have improved quite a bit since then, finding the essay confirmed in her heart and mind what she wanted to do for ODU.

Her bequest to ODU will endow the Karen S. Gershman Scholarship for a sophomore, junior, or senior majoring in communications. Like the Tunstall-Dabney Scholarship, which still exists, the scholarship will be based on merit.

The scholarship that Karen received helped inspire her three decades later to “pay it forward” to help Old Dominion University for generations of students to come. It’s a gift commitment that’s come full circle.

Have you made a provision to leave a future gift to Old Dominion University? If so, please let us know by contacting Barbara M. Henley, CFRE at 757-683-6563 or bhenley@odu.edu or Brett A. Smiley, CFRE at 757-683-4735 or bsmiley@odu.edu.

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