Scholarship Program

The establishment of the Scholarship Trust by the National Capital Section of ASCE in 1988 has delivered a significant impact in our local civil engineering community. Each year ASCE student members from five universities that are located in the region served by the Section have access to funds allocated by the Section to be awarded as scholarships. In addition to discovering the background of how the scholarships got started, are funded, and those they serve and memorialize, you will find the forms needed by civil engineering students to begin the process of applying for them through their university's ASCE Faculty Advisor. 

To better appreciate the value the Section's Scholarship Trust program delivers to our local civil engineering community, it might be helpful to explore its background.

Scholarship Award Program

The scholarship award program began in the 1970s under the efforts of the NCS Engineering Education Committee.  The committee solicited funds informally, and successfully raised several thousand dollars from members and companies.  Scholarships were awarded in the amount of $100 to $200 each, with a total of around $500 per year.  At that time, the Section was contributing the majority of these funds out of its operating budget, and the scholarship fund was maintained at around $3000.

Several events happened in the 1980s to change this scenario and launch what is now the Scholarship Trust. 

First, a generous grant in the name of Gail Hathaway, Past ASCE National President (1951) and Past ASCE/NCS President (1942) was provided to the Section by Jere Hathaway Wright, in memory of her father.  Second, Harold Williams, a long time employee of Dewberry & Davis, and close friend of Sidney Dewberry, died around 1985-86.  Dewberry & Davis employees collected tributes for a Harold Williams scholarship.  They contacted ASCE/NCS to help identify potential candidates for the scholarship and NCS President Jay Padgett suggested that the funds be rolled into our Scholarship Program to be administered by our Section.  Dewberry & Davis agreed to this suggestion and in early 1987.

Scholarship Trust

The scholarship fund grew to over $17,000, and in 1987 the NCS Board of Directors established a Task Committee to look into a more formal Scholarship Program.  The Task Committee researched various legal and tax related issues and prepared a report with recommendations for establishing a Scholarship Trust.  A draft Charter and operating rules for administering the Trust were included in the Task Committee report to the NCS Board of Directors in January 1988.  Included with the recommendations was call for an ambitious fund raising campaign to build the Scholarship Trust.  The Board of Directors adopted the recommendations and the Trust was created in September 1988.  Money carried in the NCS Budget for scholarships was transferred to the Trust and a Board of Trustees was appointed.  Jay Padgett served as the first Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees immediately embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise $100,000 as the basis of the Scholarship Program.  The campaign was envisioned to be a five-year program.  Corporate contributions came forth as did voluntary contributions from individual Section members.  The NCS Board of Directors voted to set aside funds received Voluntary Section Contribution line on the ASCE Annual Dues statement for the Scholarship Trust.  To everyone’s surprise, the campaign was a huge success, boosting the trust fund to $95,000 in just over three years.   The Board of Directors voted to contribute the final $5000 to get the fund over $100,000 in 1990.