UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. â€“ Through the contributions of family, friends and the local community, over $25,000 has been raised in support of the Osaze Olufemi Osagie Memorial Scholarship for Educational Equity. In honor of Osagieâ€™s life and the communityâ€™s support for the scholarship, the Osagie scholarship will receive a 1:1 match from University funds, creating a $50,000 endowment benefiting students facing mental health challenges and other disabilities.
â€œOur University and local communities have come together in the face of hardship and tragedy to honor the life of Osaze Osagie with a scholarship program that will carry on his legacy at Penn State for years to come,â€� said Marcus Whitehurst, vice provost for Educational Equity. â€œI am deeply grateful to our donors who have honored his memory by helping students who may need some extra support and who also make Penn State a richer and more vibrant place to learn and grow.â€�
Osagie died on March 20 in an officer-involved shooting when State College Police responded to a mental health warrant. A former Penn State student who was 29 years old at the time of his death, Osagie was the son of Sylvester and Iyunolu Osagie, longtime members of the Penn State faculty. Since its creation, more than 300 gifts have been made to the Osagie Memorial Scholarship in support of the Osagie family and Penn State students who face mental health challenges.
To provide financial resources and quality-of-life experiences to Penn State students with intellectual and mental health diagnoses, the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity will begin awarding the Osagie Scholarship in the coming year.
â€œMy family and I are very happy to learn that efforts toward building an endowed scholarship fund for Penn State students with mental health challenges have been successfully launched,â€� said Sylvester Osagie. â€œQuality-of-life issues are very important and urgently need to be addressed in our community. We hope that the Osaze Osagie Memorial Scholarship for Educational Equity will help address such matters. We thank Penn State University for supporting this scholarship and we owe a debt of gratitude to the entire Penn State community, Centre County residents, State College businesses, and many well-wishers who have been instrumental in funding this initiative. We hope that these scholarships will have a major positive impact on the lives of students in the years to come and that supporters of this memorial fund will continue to rally around the vision to touch as many lives as possible.â€�
â€œThis scholarship not only means a great deal to the family and friends of Osaze, it also is an important resource of financial aid that will help to minimize the stress of tuition costs and remove some barriers to achievement,â€� Whitehurst said. â€œThe value of education for those who suffer with mental health challenges cannot be underestimated, and it is our goal through this scholarship to offer support and contribute to the well-being of those who qualify.â€�
In addition to providing for students to receive meaningful academic, emotional and social support, plans also are underway for educational programs at the University to train law enforcement in handling interactions with individuals experiencing mental health crises.
To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Osagie Memorial Scholarship, visit raise.psu.edu/OsazeOsagieMemorialScholarship. Contributions can also be made by mail to University Development, 2601 Gateway Drive, Suite 150, State College, PA 16801.