In the wake of a tragic event, the Harrison House community has come together to honor the memory of one of its former housemates.
Under the direction of House Dean Arthur Casciato, Harrison College House will be offering a total of $2,400 in scholarship money to four incoming freshmen; Andrew Gambone, Anthony Ambrosini, Gregory Cobb and Andrew Kelly to honor the late Zack Walker.
The Zack Walker Memorial Scholarship has been established in memory of Walker -- a member of the College Class of 2002 -- who was killed in a car accident during the summer of 1999.
The tragedy occurred outside the city of Columbus, Ohio, when Walker and three of his friends, also Penn students, were on their way home from a cross-country trip to California. The three other students in the car sustained serious injuries.
"I thought that this scholarship would be a good way to help [his friends] through their grieving," said Casciato.
Walker was one of only 40 freshmen in Harrison House for the 1998-1999 school year. And being such a small group, the dean noted, provided for an extremely close-knit bunch.
Rallying support for the cause was not difficult, according to Casciato, whose college house had already been actively involved in contributing to causes such as Coaches versus Cancer and the Philadelphia Association of Foster Children.
Casciato, who prides the Harrison House atmosphere on developing a sense of community amongst its residents, was particularly touched by the outpouring of support on Walker's behalf.
"The generosity of Harrison residents who never had the chance to know Zack is what's most striking about this scholarship," he said. "People in the building came together to honor and support someone they [might] never have met."
By requesting a $1 donation from attendees at the popular Harrison House rooftop dances and monthly Sunday college house brunches, as well as raffling off tickets to Philadelphia 76ers games at Wednesday night study breaks, Casciato and his residents were able to raise $2,400 for the scholarship fund. A donation of $100 was also made by the a Penn family after they read about the fund in the online edition of The Daily Pennsylvanian. The money will be split equally between the four recipients.
Casciato worked closely with Michael Brosnan, director of undergraduate student financial services, and Bruce Chamberlin, regional director of undergraduate admissions, to find students who possessed those qualities that were exemplified by Walker.
Among the specifications for the scholarship recipients were that the students be graduates of St. Joseph's Prep (Walker's alma mater), be incoming freshmen to Penn, have a strong record of academic achievement and a proven record of community service.
It was the committee's goal to award the scholarship in Walker's memory to as many deserving students as possible, Casciato said.
"The most important aspect of this scholarship is that it helped a group of my residents who are in a lot of pain get through a very difficult year," he noted.
Plans are currently being made for a small memorial ceremony to honor Walker at Harrison House. And fundraising will begin to provide scholarship money for next year.
"We won't forget him," Casciato stated emphatically.Comments powered by Disqus
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