By Nethan Crew
A new scholarship in memory of Dr. Stefan Forrester, Montevallo’s only philosophy professor who passed away in July, is under development. The scholarship, which is being spearheaded by Forrester’s partner of 15 years, Dr. Jill Wicknick, will benefit philosophy and humanities students in need of aid.
Shortly before his passing, Wicknick and Forrester discussed an endowed scholarship, with Wicknick stating, “It was Dr. Forrester’s idea to establish a scholarship for students of philosophy; he proposed this idea to me a couple of months before he died and we discussed it in some detail so I was aware of his wishes.”
An endowed scholarship has a set contribution designated as the corpus that remains untouched forever. The corpus earns interest and the interest is used annually for scholarships.
For this scholarship, the corpus contribution will come from Forrester’s estate. The scholarship was established by Wicknick, Elizabeth Forrester—Forrester’s mother—and Derek and Leslie Forrester—Forrester’s brother and sister-in-law.
The minimum donation for the corpus of an endowed scholarship is $25,000. This amount earns $1,000 in interest annually, thus providing $1,000 annually as scholarship funding. When Wicknick and Forrester’s family set up the scholarship, there were matching funds available for the corpus from another UM donor, the Murray estate. These matching funds will double the corpus and, as a result, an additional $1,000 annually will be available as scholarship funding. In total, the corpus will be $50,000 and will provide $2,000 in scholarship funds annually.
The donors who establish the scholarship, in this case, Wicknick and Dr. Forrester’s family, also determine the scholarship requirements and eligibility. Wicknick stated that, “We decided that the scholarship will provide $1000 to each of two students each academic year.”
Scholarship recipients must be rising juniors or rising seniors with at least a 3.0 GPA. The scholarship is renewable. Therefore, a student who received it as a rising junior would be eligible again to receive it as a rising senior. There is no income requirement for the scholarship.
Students who are studying philosophy will have priority for the scholarship. If there are less than two eligible philosophy students for a given academic year, students who are studying creative writing, instrumental music or art will become eligible. These four areas were selected because they were the disciplines that Forrester loved the most.
Wicknick will administer the scholarship, meaning she will select scholarship recipients using the established criteria. Recipients will be selected from students who apply through UM’s scholarship application system, Awardspring, and who meet the eligibility requirements. After Wicknick leaves the university, scholarship recipients will be selected by a scholarship administrator or a committee appointed by the chair of UM’s English department.
Wicknick expects that the first two scholarships will be awarded for the 2024-2025 academic year if all funds and paperwork are in place by the required deadline of Sept. 30, 2024.
In addition to the Dr. Stefan B. Forrester Philosophy and Fine Arts Endowed Scholarship, some of Forrester’s colleagues in the English department are working to compile many of his poems into a poetry collection, including Dr. Ashley Wurzbacher and Dr. Alex Barringer—who are working to collect as many of his poems as possible. According to Wurzbacher, completing the compilation will likely take time, but the English department will spread the word once they are done.