Friends Create Scholarship in Memory of Classmate
Galloway, N.J. - A new scholarship has been established to honor the memory of former Stockton University student Gina Marie Durham, a Buena Vista Township resident who passed away unexpectedly in 2008.
The Gina Marie Durham “Believe” Scholarship was established by 2008 graduates Rio Napoli of Westville and Steven Couras of Hoboken, close friends of Durham, to support students who demonstrate financial need and are actively involved in leadership activities both on and off campus with an annual award of $1,000.
“For many years now, a number of us have thought a scholarship should be established to honor Gina’s memory,” said Couras. “She deserves this, and it’s a way to ensure her legacy and spirit live on at Stockton.”
According to Couras, “no one had more Stockton spirit and pride than Gina.” She was president of the Stockton Entertainment Team, a Resident Assistant, and Circle K District Governor. Off-campus she spent hours serving her community through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
“Gina was an absolute force of a student leader,” said Napoli. “And despite all her volunteer and leadership work at Stockton, and working part time, she always had time for her friends and the students she mentored.”
As co-leaders for Stockton’s Outdoor Adventure Retreat (SOAR) – a former program for incoming first-year students – Napoli said Durham memorized one fact about each participant.
“It allowed her to make a connection with the students right away,” said Napoli. “She made everyone else feel special, like they belonged, and they were a part of her community from the very start.”
Napoli and Couras stressed the importance of leadership and involvement for the recipients.
“We hope the scholarship recipients will accomplish as much as Gina did while at Stockton and leave their own lasting legacy,” said Couras.
Napoli and Couras are committed to funding the scholarship for five years and hope others who knew her will also donate.
To make a gift, visit stockton.edu/give and specify the “Gina Marie Durham “Believe” Scholarship” as your designation.