Hurricane Katrina may have flooded his home, damaged the Catholic boarding school where he works, and wiped out most of the Mississippi gulf town where he lives, but Stace McRaney wasn’t going to let it destroy his plan to complete a master’s degree through USF’s Institute for Catholic Educational Leadership.
The cost of repairing his home in Bay St. Louis, however, made paying tuition an even greater challenge than it was before the storm.
“I was still determined to finish, but I had already incurred quite a bit of debt, and then we had to shell out a lot of cash because of Katrina,” said McRaney, who is married with two young children and had completed two of three summer sessions in the program when Katrina hit.
The burden was lifted last spring when McRaney, the dean of students at St. Stanislaus School for Boys, learned he would receive a scholarship to cover the full cost of tuition, allowing him to complete the final summer session and earn a master’s degree. “The news of the scholarship was a welcome relief,” he said.
McRaney is the first recipient of the Lone Mountain Legacy Scholarship, funded by alumnae of the San Francisco College for Women, which operated on Lone Mountain for nearly 40 years. After severe enrollment declines, the college closed and USF purchased the campus in 1978.
In conjunction with awarding the first scholarship to a USF student, the alumnae group this year voted unanimously to join the USF Alumni Association. The formal integration of the two groups will take place in January.
“Since the founding of the Society of the Sacred Heart in 1800, the religious have been closely associated with the Jesuits. It seems timely and most fitting to strengthen our bonds of mutual support,” said Shirley Connolly, president of the San Francisco chapter of Alumnae of the Sacred Heart.