Gift creates scholarships for single mothers, athletes at Westminster

SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College recently received a donation of $1 million to provide scholarships to single mothers and college athletes.

Gina Bogdanich is a nurse who deals with newborns in an intensive care unit, a Westminster College graduate and a single mother.

“I had a lot of struggle with balancing being an active mother in her life and studying and working,” she said. “I worked two jobs during it as well.”

Bogdanich said she wouldn’t be in the position she is without scholarships.

“I know for a fact that without scholarships, the end result would have looked very different, and I couldn’t have gone here without them, and I couldn’t have what I have today without them,” she said.

Scholarships like the one Bogdanich received will continue to be made available to other Westminster students, thanks to a gift from two Westminster alumni. Tony Merritt and his wife, Ann, met when they were students at Westminster in the ‘60s.

When Tony passed away earlier this year, Westminster College was named in his estate and received $1 million. Ann Merritt said the couple was just following up on previously made plans.

“We always said if the opportunity arose and we could do it that we would like to give back to Westminster,” she said.

The money will be used to establish the Tony and Ann Merritt Single Mother Scholarship Fund, The Merritt Athletic Excellence Fund and the Merritt Endowed Athletic Fund.

Gil Cordova was Tony Merritt’s old roommate and a good friend, and he said Tony believed educating women and mothers provided benefits for everyone in the family.

“I think that Tony recognized that and that was something that was very important to both he and Ann, as far as making sure at least they had a chance to survive,” he said.

Ann said her husband wanted to help those who need a little extra assistance.

“He just admired strong women who were willing to take care of their kids and go the extra mile and help them out, and sometimes you just need a little extra help to get through those times,” she said.

Bogdanich said it’s a very generous thing to do.

“It’s a remarkable gift, and I know that there are so many moms that are so much more deserving than I am, but all I can say is, ‘Thank you’ for them and for me,” she said.

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