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1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship

IDEALS TO LIVE BY

1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship is a very special award given to one student each year. It is designed to recognize kind of generosity of spirit Greg Zavota showed throughout his life of twenty four years. View Details

1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship

IDEALS TO LIVE BY

1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota

1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship is a very special award given to one student each year. It is designed to recognize kind of generosity of spirit Greg Zavota showed throughout his life of twenty four years. Greg was a Black Hawk pilot in the 101st Aviation Regiment of the U.S. Army who followed his heart in his brilliant career. Because he wanted to help save lives, he asked to be transferred from the aviation branch to the medic branch, even though it meant taking a rank demotion. He earned a posthumous award, the Army Commendation Medal, for meritorious service as a forward support MEDEVAC team leader. A caring leader devoted to the well-being of his soldiers and their families, Greg was there for all who needed him.

Greg is fondly remembered locally at Barrington High School, where he was captain of the track team and a lettered athlete. Going on to West Point, he graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering. Greg was known for his smile and his sense of humor, as well as for his determination and hard work. His family established the 1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship in 2010 as a wonderful memorial to Greg's passions and accomplishments. Their vision and generosity ensure that Greg's compassion for humanity and spirit for life will be nurtured in all the RIC students lucky enough to be awarded this recognition.

The first recipient of the 1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship (2010-11) is Amy Marshall '13. An Early Childhood and Special Education major, Amy was stunned when she learned of her award. While she readily acknowledges how much the scholarship helped her family financially, it is the honor of the award that means most to her. "I like to think that my work follows Greg's example," she states, "But until I got this scholarship, I didn't think of my mentoring and teaching in this way. Now I have seen the courage of the Zavota family, and I can only hope that I can be an inspiration to my students and make a difference in their lives."

Amy has been a mentor to an elementary student for four years in a row. She has also served in leadership positions with the Resident Student Association, the Mentor Organization at Henry Barnard, and Scholarships for Service. Her student-teaching supervisor, Laura E. Parkerson, attributes Amy's success as a mentor and volunteer to her "cheerful demeanor and quiet competence," qualities that the Zavota family might well understand. As Amy said in her thank you letter to her donors, "Since you have recognized me with this scholarship award, I want you to know I am committed to striving." She will do so because she knows first-hand how much one person can matter to others.

Brittany Richer '13 is proud to have been awarded the 1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship in 2011-12. The Woonsocket native is majoring in Secondary Education, and feels a strong connection to the award's purpose. She affirms: "I am grateful to be able to receive a scholarship in honor of an outstanding individual. The establishment of this scholarship allows a legacy to live on through the accomplishments of the recipient."


Amy Marshall '13
Zavota Scholarship Recipients
Megan Sewell '15

Brittany Richer '13

Brittany's own achievements are impressive, starting with her 4.0 grade point average. On campus, she is a tutor in the Writing Center and serves as a Senior Resident Assistant in the dorms. She has also mentored students for Open Books, Open Minds, led activities in the Honors Program, and has participated statewide in a host of other volunteer efforts. Professor Spencer Hall, Director of English Honors, elaborates on this recipient's stellar qualities: "Brittany is absolutely committed to community and service activities. They are integral to who she is." Brittany is fulfilling the paradigm of the Zavota family for their scholarship, joyously and wholeheartedly. 

The 2012-13 awardee of the 1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship, Megan Sewall '15, shares another aspect of Greg's accomplishments: she too had a successful high school athletic career in track and field. At Portsmouth High School, she medaled all three years of her participation in the Rhode Island State Track Meet. At RIC, she has turned her athletic skills to a new arena as a member of the women's basketball team, a pursuit that she says "has helped me mature and become mentally strong."

An avid volunteer, Megan has worked to rebuild homes in New Orleans damaged by Hurricane Katrina through Infinity Volunteers, an organization based in her home town. She has also served in Newport County soup kitchens, Aquidneck Island beach clean-ups, and continues to help raise funds for Infinity Volunteer charitable trips to New Orleans, Ghana and the Dominican Republic. As her mentor, Nicolina Kelly, founder of Infinity Volunteers, put it: "I believe Megan, because of her extraordinary abilities coupled with her incredible passion to make a difference, is destined to effect great things."

Like her fellow recipients of the Zavota Scholarship, Megan is an excellent student, earning a 4.0 GPA as she pursues a degree in Communication with a specialization in Mass Media. She hopes to go into sports broadcasting and reporting, but is also focusing on general education. Megan expresses her gratitude for her scholarship simply and sincerely: "I can't thank you enough for awarding me this scholarship. I am honored."

With the 1st Lieutenant Gregory F. Zavota Humanitarian Scholarship, these three awardees have received the jewel in the crown of their achievements at RIC.  It is clear that this honor will inspire Amy, Brittany and Megan to maintain a lifelong engagement with the spirited ideals of selflessness and compassion Greg Zavota dedicated his life to uphold.


Karen A. Davie '76

REAL WILL POWER: SECURING MEMORIES

"RIC had a significant impact on my life. Naming the college in my estate plan was an easy way to assist generations of students who will follow me." View Details

Karen A. Davie '76

REAL WILL POWER: SECURING MEMORIES

Karen A. Davie '76 is remembering Rhode Island College while looking towards the future. Karen, Senior Vice President for Philanthropy and Governance at Women and Infants Hospital, has made a provision in her will to benefit the college. She explains: "RIC had a significant impact on my life. Naming the college in my estate plan was an easy way to assist generations of students who will follow me."

When she thinks back, Karen recalls how her experience at Rhode Island College as a sociology major "taught what it meant to be a contributing member of society." She knows that students and faculty at RIC continue to live out that pattern of excellence. "I recognize that to do well at anything you must take the time to establish goals and then decide which path to follow to achieve success," she says, adding: "It was true when I first walked on the RIC campus and is still true today."

Planning ahead, Karen's contribution will ensure that this tradition of service and learning continues to flourish. Her membership in the Gold and White Society is a powerful way to affirm her commitment to RIC. She elaborates: "I made this bequest to honor the phenomenal professors and staff at RIC, and to challenge and inspire others to do the same."

If you would like to explore membership in the Gold and White Society through the creation of a bequest to Rhode Island College, please call the Office of College Advancement at 401-456-8086. Discover how your memories can encompass the future at RIC.


Thomas and Louise Barry with Grace Savastano '14, recipient of the Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship.

A LIFETIME OF GIVING EXPERIENCE

"Rhode Island College gave us an extraordinary beginning." View Details

The Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship

A LIFETIME OF GIVING EXPERIENCE

Thomas and Louise Barry with Grace Savastano '14, recipient of the Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship.

Thomas and Louise Barry crafted their scholarship based on real life experience. Not only does their gift make a significant difference to the recipient, but it reflects who the Barrys are. The Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship goes to first-generation students: the Barrys themselves were the first in their families to graduate from college. Louise recalls that when she and her sister attended RIC in the early 60s, tuition was $100, a lot of money! But thanks to the financial aid she received, Louise was able to finish not only her bachelor's degree, but also her master's in special education. As she puts it: "Rhode Island College gave us an extraordinary beginning."

Thomas, who has earned three degrees at RIC, a master's and a CAGS as well as his bachelor's, also sees the college experience as transformative. He reminisces: "To come from the 'lower class' and make it to the 'middle class' took some work. We initially came to Rhode Island College as hourly workers and we left as professionals. The College provided us with an intellectual and a cultural climate that changed us dramatically." The Barrys have had long and distinguished careers in public education, primarily in the Warwick Public Schools. They have been giving to the community their whole lives. Louise was a special education teacher, and Thomas a school psychologist: their scholarship is offered to a student pursuing a degree in special education or in school psychology.

This year's recipient of the Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship, special education major Grace Savastano '14, is emulating her generous donors while following her heart. She sees her role as helping her special ed students meet challenges. "When my students achieve their goals, specialized, smaller goals than other students might have, we all celebrate." The Woonsocket native has firsthand experience overcoming obstacles herself. In 2008, Grace lost her job due to the economic downturn. That same year, she experienced a much greater tragedy: her young and previously healthy sister Carol was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away six weeks later. After that, says Grace: "I thought long and hard about my life. I decided that I wanted to change my career and do something that would help others." Grace chose to enroll at RIC to be an elementary and middle school special education teacher, and her 3.4 GPA attests to her dedication and success.

Grace was thrilled to learn she had been awarded the Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship. A first-generation student, she is devoted to her family as well as her future career. She has a six year old son and her husband works long hours in a family business, so she relates candidly: "We are struggling to pay for my education." She adds: "This scholarship could not have come at a better time." Being an 'older' student brings its own challenges, of course. But there are unexpected benefits, she confides, such as trying out lesson plans on her son.

Grace had a chance to express her thanks to her donors, Mr. and Mrs. Barry, in person, when she met them at the First Annual Scholarship Appreciation Luncheon in the fall. "They made me feel welcome," Grace relates, "And I was able to let them know what it means to have some of the burden lifted thanks to their scholarship." The Barrys have been vibrant members of the RIC community since they set foot on campus over forty years ago and they have never stopped appreciating their RIC. Thomas says it best: "We try to give back. We wish to help Grace and others have the kind of life we have. As educators, we want to support future educators." After all, he concludes: "The future of the College is not in us but in these recipients." With the Thomas '65 and Louise '64 Barry Scholarship, Thomas and Louise have created a meaningful cycle of compassion, dedication and service for generations to come.

If you are interested in becoming part of our generous donor community at RIC, please call the Office of College Advancement at 401-456-8086.

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Page last updated: November 04, 2015