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New scholarship funds to benefit a range of students

Fall 2021

By Carla Carlton

Students now and yet to come are the beneficiaries of gifts created by the Heritage Society, which comprises alumni and friends who have made outright gifts or included Bellarmine in their estate plans. To contribute to these funds or start a new one, contact Joan Riggert, director of planned giving and stewardship, at or 502.272.8330. 

The Samuel Lawrence Downing Endowed Scholarship 

Samuel Lawrence DowningTimothy Downing and Donna Lawrence established this fund in memory of their son, Samuel Lawrence Downing (1988-2020). Sam, whose passions ranged from music and filmmaking to snowboarding and nature, would have received his bachelor's degree in Music Technology in mid-May 2020. It was conferred posthumously. 

Sam's sister, Lea, described Sam as having "a passion for life that I've never known in another person: his irrepressible drive to express himself creatively, his deep instinct to move physically within powerful landscapes, his unstoppable need to learn and encounter as much as he could. Sam faced many challenges throughout his life, but even in the darkest of moments, his eyes shone with a light that was uniquely his, one that pulled him toward a life lived joyfully and intensely." 

Building on earlier classes at Columbia College in Chicago and JCTCS, Sam signed up with some trepidation for a class at Bellarmine, then two. When he was encouraged and welcomed with open arms, he enrolled full time.

"At Bellarmine, Sam found his courage, his voice, his path and a creative and intellectual community of love and support," Donna Lawrence wrote. "These were what Sam needed to realize his innate and hard-earned talents into a range of tested, proven, and personally satisfying abilities. This is also the kind of environment in which all of us are most likely to thrive and find our paths in life." 

The Samuel Lawrence Downing Endowed Scholarship is intended for music majors, with preference given to non-traditional students who have overcome significant life obstacles to pursue a college degree. 

Sam's family is deeply appreciative of his Bellarmine experience," Lawrence wrote, "and relationships which would have been the most treasured of his life, no matter how long he may have lived." 


Dr. Mark and Cindy Lynn Endowed Scholarship 

The LynnsWhen Dr. Mark Lynn and his wife, Cindy Lynn, went to college, they relied on loans and scholarships to get there, along with working full-time. Eight years after high school, they had significant student-loan debt.

"After years of struggling, we promised ourselves that if we were ever in a position to help others from enduring the same hardships, then we would do so," they said.  

The Lynns have made good on that promise with gifts to Bellarmine and other universities. They recently established a fund at Bellarmine, where Mark Lynn is a Trustee, to provide scholarships to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. They hope that the recipients will remember that they were given an opportunity to achieve their goals and do the same in return one day. 

To the Lynns, Bellarmine is more than just a "means to an end." 

"It is a symbol of achieving goals the right way, for the right cause, that will lead to success," they said. "It stands for being true to God, others, and yourself, in that order. It is a symbol of hope and the future, and we are proud to be a small part of this great cause." 



The Nicholas '69 and Virginia Osborne '70 Carosi Endowed Scholarship 

CarosisBellarmine holds a special place in the hearts of Nick and Gincy Osborne Carosi, who met there. "Bellarmine is the roots of our relationship," Gincy said. "We have great respect for the university and fond memories." 

In 2013, the Carosis gifted their alma mater with St. Robert's Gate, the 3 ½-story arch at the university's Newburg Road entrance. Nick is the owner of Arban & Carosi, an architectural precast concrete firm in Virginia. <

Now they have created an endowed scholarship fund at Bellarmine. First preference goes to a student who attended St. John's College High School in Washington, D.C., which Nick Carosi attended. The second preference is a student who attended a Catholic high school in Virginia or the D.C. Metro area. 

"We are trying to elevate Bellarmine in this mid-Atlantic area," Nick said, "and there is no better way than getting students to go there." 

Gincy said the couple hopes that recipients will appreciate their gift of financial aid enough "to turn around and do it for the next generation." 

"We are big believers in Catholic education, and there is no better place to get a good Catholic education," Nick added. "The values of Catholicism and Christianity are nurtured at Bellarmine. We both chose not to go to a big school, and we enjoyed our time there. We hope that our establishing a scholarship will inspire others to do the same."  


The Don and Mary Carol Kelly Family Endowed Scholarship 

KellysDon and Mary Carol Kelly have seen the value of a Bellarmine education firsthand, through the student experiences of their daughters and daughter-in-law and through Don Kelly's involvement as a Trustee. 

They hope to provide that education to many other students through the scholarship fund they have established. The scholarship is intended for a first-year student, with preference given to those who have worked with the Community Catholic Center (CCC) in Louisville, which helps families in the Portland and other West End neighborhoods provide a Catholic education to their children. 

"The CCC is a wonderful organization which began when the Archdiocese closed the last [Catholic] school in those neighborhoods," said Don, who is on the board of the CCC. "We both think it is very important that Catholic education not become available only to the upper-middle class and beyond. Giving preference to a CCC student is a natural extension of that belief." 

While they know that the Bellarmine experience will enrich the lives of the students who receive their scholarships, they see their investment going even further. 

"After graduation, I hope that the recipients use what they learned, experienced, and enjoyed during their time at Bellarmine to be an inspiration to others to achieve their dreams and goals," Don said. 

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Bellarmine University is a vibrant community of educational excellence and ethical awareness that consistently ranks among the nation’s best colleges and universities. Our students pursue an education based in the liberal arts – and in the distinguished, inclusive Catholic tradition of educational excellence, the oldest and most rewarding in the western world. It is a lifelong education, worthy of the university’s namesake, Saint Robert Bellarmine, and of his invitation to each of us to learn and live In Veritatis Amore – in the love of all that is beautiful, true and good in life.