By Barb Arland-Fye
Applications for the Marguerite Ritzinger Scholarship of the Diocese of Davenport are now being accepted. The scholarship committee plans to award $1,000 scholarships to Catholic students who will be college freshmen, sophomores, juniors or seniors in fall 2011.
Application forms are available online on the diocesan website at www.davenportdiocese.org. Applicants should fill out the application and provide an essay, a high school or college transcript and two reference letters in one package. Deadline for submission is Feb. 1.
“Last year we assisted students with $18,000 in scholarship money,” said Char Maaske, chief financial officer for the Davenport Diocese.
The diocese launched the annual scholarship program last year through the generosity of the late Marguerite Ritzinger, a Sigourney native who died in 2005. She left $388,770 to the diocese with the stipulation that half of the money go toward seminarians’ education and half toward scholarships for students to attend colleges or universities.
Seminarians already have benefited from the funds set aside for their education and the money for that purpose has been exhausted. The scholarship program took longer to develop because the diocese didn’t have expertise in that area and set up a committee to investigate the process, Maaske said. Scholarships will be awarded annually until the funds from the estate run out.
Father David Wilkening, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison, is a member of the scholarship committee and a distant cousin of Ritzinger. He described her as an astute business woman who spent most of her life outside of Iowa working as a corporate secretary. She grew up in Sigourney and was a member of St. Mary Parish there.