Contact: Lindsay Hyman
Local Student Awarded Post-Graduate Scholarship of $60,000
Joel D. Stroot Will Pursue a Doctorate with Scholarship Assistance
WASHINGTON, August 28, 2009 – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is proud to announce that Joel D. Stroot of Sylva, North Carolina, has been awarded the Dennis Washington Achievement Scholarship to assist in funding his post-graduate education. Joel will receive a total of $60,000 from the scholarship program.
Joel was eligible for this scholarship because he is a 2002 alumnus of the Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program — an award given to high school seniors who overcame adversity and life challenges while excelling in academics and contributing to their communities. The Dennis Washington Achievement Scholarship is awarded to those who seek graduate and doctoral degrees and is made possible by a $10 million grant from chairman emeritus and Horatio Alger member Dennis R. Washington, and his wife, Phyllis.
Joel is one of seven children from a rural farming family. While his family was very close , they often had difficulties making ends meet. Joel’s father, in particular, insisted that each of his children find the funding to go to college, which instilled a very high worth ethic in Joel and his siblings. At age 16, Joel and his father were in a car accident the day before Christmas Eve that his father did not survive. In that difficult moment, Joel realized that it was important for him to focus on his future and make his father proud. Today, Joel has two bachelor’s degrees –one in biology pre-professional from Western Carolina and one in philosophy from Pontifical College Josephinum. With the help of the Dennis Washington Achievement Scholarship, Joel will pursue a doctoral degree in dentistry. Joel has a passion for helping people while working with his hands and hopes to use his dentistry degree for international mission work.
“I feel very blessed and thankful to the association for helping to make my educational dreams a reality,” said Joel D. Stroot. “It is amazing to see the graciousness and compassion that other people have and the association gives me an example of giving back.”
“Joel sets an excellent example of lifelong learning and personal growth despite obstacles, and we are proud to support him in the next chapter of his academic career,” said David L. Sokol, president and CEO of the Horatio Alger Association. “The association is especially grateful for the many contributions of Dennis and Phyllis Washington and their dedication to offering students a brighter future through higher education.”
Washington, founder of the Washington Companies, has his own Horatio Alger story of inspiration and success. Overcoming childhood adversity and a bout with polio, Washington’s work ethic and unwavering motivation helped him to become vice president of the largest construction company in Montana by age 26, and he later created his own construction company, which would grow to be one of the largest in the nation.
“The greatest long-term benefit to society is realized by uplifting individuals, and providing this educational opportunity will help Joel realize his dreams,” stated Dennis and Phyllis Washington.
Four other individuals were awarded the scholarship in 2009: Benny L. Cooper; Joshua Steven Eddy; David Mou; and Ashley R. Orr.
About the Horatio Alger Association:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program, state scholarship programs, and graduate grants. The association awards nearly $7 million annually in college scholarships and has given more than $65 million to deserving students since 1984. The association is a 2008-2009 Combined Federal Campaign participant; # 77062. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.