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Cronkite Alumnus and Family Create Endowed Scholarship

March 23, 2014

Arizona State University alumnus TJ Sokol and his mother Dorothy J. Sokol are establishing a new endowed scholarship for undergraduates at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The Thomas J. and Dorothy J. Sokol Maroon and Gold Scholarship was created in memory of the late Thomas J. Sokol, a loving husband, father and firm believer in the benefits of higher education. TJ Sokol, who serves as Cronkite’s information technology director, said he wanted to give back to his school.

“Between being a student and a staff member, I’ve been at ASU for more than 20 years,” said Sokol, a Tempe, Ariz., resident and a 1992 Cronkite graduate. “I wanted to give something back to ASU. My father was a big proponent of higher education, and we wanted to do something special for him.”

Dorothy Sokol, a resident of Sun City West, Ariz., is a retired music instructor and a longtime education supporter. She said her husband of 51 years would have appreciated the gesture. Thomas J. Sokol owned and operated a successful quartz crystal manufacturing business for more than 20 years.

In 1957, he graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Mrs. Sokol said he never forgot about the scholarship from the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation that helped him earn his degree in electrical engineering.

“Education was very important to both of us,” said Mrs. Sokol, who also has two grandchildren who graduated from ASU. “People today need a chance to receive a good education just like my husband. We hope this scholarship can help future Cronkite students achieve their dreams.”

The Sokols established the scholarship through a special new program offered to full-time ASU faculty and staff as well as emeritus faculty. The ASU Foundation’s Maroon and Gold Leaders Giving Program is designed to increase scholarship support for high-performing undergraduate students with financial need.

The program offers matching funds on significant contributions for 10 years and immediately begins distributing scholarship help to students. On commitments of $25,000 or more, ASU will match 4 percent of an endowed scholarship commitment for the first 10 years. Commitments can be outright gifts or pledges with a five-year payment schedule.

Cronkite School Dean Christopher Callahan and his wife Jean Callahan also recently established an endowed Maroon and Gold scholarship to help aspiring journalists study at Cronkite.

“Cronkite School faculty and staff make a positive impact on the lives of students each and every day,” said Cronkite Director of Development Liz Bernreuter. “But it is especially inspiring when leaders like TJ and Dean Callahan, who are already giving so much of themselves, go above and beyond by making a philanthropic contribution. The financial assistance being provided to students through these scholarships can absolutely change the course of lives.”

The Thomas J. and Dorothy J. Sokol Maroon and Gold Scholarship is the fifth endowed scholarship created at Cronkite in the past three months. The others include the Sarah and David Bodney First Amendment Scholarship, the John Misner and Angela Astore Misner New American University Scholarship, and the Susan M. Newman and Craig A. Newman Family New American University Scholarship.

The ASU Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that raises and invests private contributions to ASU. The foundation coordinates and directs all major fundraising campaigns on behalf of ASU, its colleges and schools.

For more information about the Maroon and Gold Leaders Giving Program, contact Bernreuter at elizabeth.bernreuter@asu.edu.