By Anthony Caporale
Each year, a committee of 12 handpicks three juniors at Saint Vincent College to receive the Class of 1968 Fr. Ronald R. Gorka Scholarship Award. The awards vary in amount. This year, the first-place winner will receive a $15,000 prize, while the second and third winners will receive a $5,000 prize.
Ed Heinrichs, an alumnus of the class of 1968, serves as spokesperson for the scholarship committee.
“Due to the effort of a group of about 12 friends from the class of 1968, the Fr. Ronald Gorka Scholarship was founded 20 years ago,” Heinrichs said, adding that he and the other members of the committee have worked hard to support the community at Saint Vincent.
Rich Schulte, also an alumnus of the class of 1968 and a committee member for the scholarship, described the various projects that the class of 1968 has supported, including the fountain outside the entrance to Placid Hall, as well as an upcoming landscaping project in Melvin Platz.
A “history sheet” explains the background behind the Fr. Ronald Gorka Scholarship. This document is usually received by the faculty, staff and the last seven students in final consideration for the award. The scholarship takes its name from Fr. Ronald Gorka, O.S.B., Ph.D., who was a professor at SVC in the 1960s. He was the academic dean and a pivotal role model to the students of the class of 1968. The history sheet explains that he was known for having “a gift for identifying unfulfilled potential in his students,” and for his philosophy that “a student’s value goes beyond the textbook.” To continue Gorka’s legacy, 12 members of the class of 1968 established a scholarship in his name.
The winners will be awarded the scholarship during the Honors Convocation and Undergraduate Conference on May 5, 2021. All classes will be cancelled during the event, which takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, last year’s Honors Convocation was disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which moved the in-person event to online. This year, the event will most likely be a hybrid of the two formats.