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Shepherd University alumnus honors late wife with named fund

By Staff | Jun 15, 2012

The Shepherd University Foundation has announced the creation of the Violet Wilt Stewart Scholarship. Funds will be used to provide financial assistance to students involved with the 4-H youth development organization, with a preference given to those from Hardy, Grant or Pendleton counties in West Virginia.

The fund was created by Shepherd alumnus Carl Stewart, class of 1958, in memory of his late wife Violet Stewart, who passed away in February 2011 after 53 years of marriage. The two met as classmates at Shepherd when she agreed to attend a fraternity social as his blind date. While she was immediately smitten, he admits it took him a few more months to “see the light.” Once he did, however, he wasted no time in proposing. Stewart said he often ran into President Ikenberry in the evenings on his way home from Violet’s house to meet curfew.

During their life together, the Stewarts traveled frequently, taking bus trips around the country in addition to traveling abroad to Israel and Austria. They also enjoyed square dancing, which Stewart, a retired minister, considers “good, wholesome fun for couples.” Eventually settling in Broadway, Virginia, the couple had three sons, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Violet Stewart was a native of West Virginia and, as a teenager, became active in the state’s 4-H center, located in Jackson’s Mill near her hometown of Old Fields. An accomplished seamstress who eventually taught her granddaughters to sew dresses for themselves and their dolls, she won numerous ribbons for 4-H related textile submissions in county fairs. Carl Stewart was also involved with 4-H prior to arriving at Shepherd and, as students, they were both officers in the school’s 4-H Club.

His wife’s love for the 4-H organization is what inspired Stewart to endow a scholarship in her name using an inheritance she received following the sale of her family farm. “I thought this would be a fitting use for the money,” he said. Stewart returned to his alma mater on May 21 to meet with President Suzanne Shipley, who thanked him for his generosity. “I believe the scholarship is something Violet would enjoy. She always loved Shepherd.”

For more information about how to honor or memorialize someone by establishing a named fund through the Shepherd University Foundation, please contact Monica Lingenfelter, Shepherd University Foundation, P.O. Box 5000, Shepherdstown, WV, 25443-5000, 304-876-5397, mlingenf@shepherd.edu or visit www.shepherd.edu/fndtnweb.