Transforming Student Lives

Former high school teacher Merrill Dellaire Dollar may never have met Dakota Gardiner, but today his legacy is helping this Husson University student pay for College. She is one of the many students selected to receive financial support from the Merrill Dellaire Dollar Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“I really wanted to go to college but my parents didn’t have the money so I got a job and I’m paying my own way. That means taking care of the big expenses like tuition and books as well as the small expenses like soap and shampoo. It all adds up,” said Gardiner. “The scholarship I receive makes a big difference. Every dollar I get translates into more time I can study and less time I have to work paying for my education. It makes a huge difference. You can only work so much if you want to get good grades.”

Gardiner continued: “When I was a senior in high school, I earned a certificate to become a nursing assistant. Once I complete my education at Husson, I’ll be able to become a registered nurse (RN). Long term, I’d love to work with kids. Someday, I’ll come back to Husson again and become a nurse practitioner. Then I’ll be able to open my own practice and help children grow and stay healthy.”

Each year, the majority of the earnings from the Merrill Dellaire Dollar Endowed Scholarship Fund are awarded to students, while a smaller portion is reinvested to help ensure student financial aid can be provided in future years.

Individuals who receive scholarships from the Merrill Dellaire Dollar Endowed Scholarship Fund must be full time students of Husson University, demonstrate unmet financial need and be in good academic standing. Award decisions are made by the director of financial aid.

Nicholas Young is an incoming freshman who also received a scholarship from the fund this year. He’s pursuing a career in criminal justice and psychology.

“Sometimes when I’m in class or doing my homework, I think about how this scholarship and others I’ve received have impacted my life. It’s an incredible feeling knowing that someone out there, who you’ve never met, has faith in you and wants you to succeed. I find that getting a sizable scholarship really motivates me to do well. I want to make sure I justify the faith that someone else placed in me,” said Young.

Danielle Bagley, a junior here at Husson University and a sophomore in the nursing program put it this way: “Scholarships are wonderful. They’re probably one of the best gifts anyone could give a college student. It doesn't matter how big or how small the amount of money is; every little bit helps. So to anyone out there responsible for a scholarship, a grant or any kind of award – thank you. Just knowing there are people out there like you is humbling. Thank you for allowing me to continue my education and move one step closer to my ultimate goal.”

More About Merrill Dollar:

Merrill Dollar was born in Saint Francis, Maine on August 10, 1926. He graduated from Husson College, (later to become Husson University) in 1949 with a diploma from the three-year business education program. In 1995, nearly 45 years after he graduated, Dollar returned to campus along with a number of other graduates from the business education program to receive an honorary bachelor’s degree from Husson University.

Clara Swan, Class of 1933 and retired Husson University vice president remembered Dollar as a diligent and serious student. “He was always meticulous about the way he dressed and his work,” she said.

Two years later, Dollar earned a bachelor of science degree from Springfield College in Massachusetts. In 1957, he earned a master of arts degree from Columbia University in New York.

After graduating from college, Dollar taught business classes to high school students in the Westbury, New York school system for over 50 years.

Over the course of his life, Dollar had a passion for education. He lived frugally and invested wisely. These qualities and his business acumen led him to create a $1.4 million endowed scholarship fund at Husson University as part of his estate plan.