by Elizabeth Cheney ’89, ’99G
As a friend, teammate, and a teacher, Matt Budrow ’05 was an inspiration. When he died in a snowmobiling accident in 2008, he left behind a community of friends and former classmates and teammates who channeled their grief into action by forming the Friends of Matt Budrow, an organization to raise funds for a scholarship in Matt’s name at PSU.
“We wanted future generations of students to know Matt’s name and the kind of person he was,” says Scott Nalette ’05, who, like Matt, was a physical education major. “Coach John Scheinman and Professor Irene Cucina helped us set up the scholarship in Matt’s honor at Plymouth State.”
While raising the $10,000 required for the endowment was an ambitious goal, the friends found creative and innovative ways to raise the funds, from selling commemorative t-shirts and wristbands to organizing golf tournaments and other events. In just two and a half years, the friends exceeded their goal. Jennifer MacDonald ’05 attributes the group’s fundraising success to Matt’s character and the bonds they all formed at PSU and within the community. “The school, the community, and the businesses—they’ve all helped us with the scholarship,” she says. “It shows that Plymouth State offers more than an academic experience.”
According to Nalette, meeting the fundraising goal wasn’t the only positive outcome of the group’s efforts. “Fundraising for the scholarship has helped us keep in touch and broaden our networks as we meet people who knew Matt.”
For MacDonald, fundraising for the scholarship has great personal meaning. “[It’s] my way of connecting with Matt; this is how I remember him every day.”
The criteria for the scholarship reflect Budrow’s interests in kids, teaching, and coaching. “Matt was passionate about kids and keeping them physically active,” says Cucina, Matt’s former advisor and a member of the scholarship selection committee. She recalls receiving an e-mail from Matt on his first day of teaching at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, ME, where he attended high school. “He e-mailed me to let me know how anxious he was, but excited that he had met this important goal in his life. He had only been teaching for a few months, but there were so many kids at his wake … he had affected many in that short time.”
Now, thanks to the dedication and hard work of his many friends, Matt is still making a difference in people’s lives. Junior physical education major and soccer and softball player Amy Green from Atkinson, NH, is the first recipient of the Budrow Scholarship. She hopes to earn her master’s degree and become a physical education and health teacher and to coach. “I’ve heard about the kind of person Matt was, and I feel a connection because, like him, I am a PE major and athlete,” she says. “This scholarship allows me to feel that what I am doing in the classroom and on the field is recognized, and it helps me financially.”
Even with their initial goal of creating the scholarship in Matt’s name achieved, the friends are intent on continuing their fundraising efforts. “Every little bit helps,” says Nalette.
To learn more about the Matthew Budrow ’05 Memorial Scholarship, or creating a scholarship at PSU, contact the Office of University Advancement.