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Foundation accepts estate gift to endow Mentzer scholarship

ISSUED: 30 September 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Foundation accepted an estate gift to endow the Jo Ann Mentzer Scholarship at its annual membership meeting September 19 in McMurran Hall.

Susan Mentzer-Blair, who is a member of the Foundation’s board of directors, presented the gift on behalf of her first cousin to Michael A. Smith, president of the Foundation.

Mentzer, a 1960 graduate of Shepherd, was a lifelong resident of Martinsburg and a former teacher with Berkeley County Public Schools. She was a charter member of the Joseph P. McMurran Society, designated for alumni and friends of Shepherd who have chosen to share their lifelong financial achievements through estate and other planned gifts.

“I really believe Jo Ann’s horizons changed spectacularly because of her time at Shepherd,” said Mentzer-Blair. “It made the difference between her going to work at the neighborhood five-and-dime and becoming a professional woman.”

Throughout her career as an educator, Mentzer recognized students’ need for financial assistance in order to attend college as tuition costs rose. Through a bequest in her will, she established the Jo Ann Mentzer Scholarship to benefit elementary education majors from Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties.

“Jo Ann had such a wonderful experience at Shepherd,” said Mentzer-Blair, who served as executrix of her late cousin’s estate and was instrumental in transforming Mentzer’s deferred gift into a scholarship that will financially assist Shepherd students for generations to come. “She wanted to thank Shepherd for the change it made in her life, and she wanted to open doors for other kids like her.”

The Shepherd University Foundation is a non-profit organization that advances the mission of Shepherd University by overseeing funds established for support of the University and its students, faculty, and programs. To learn how to make a bequest or other deferred gift to establish a named scholarship, contact Monica Lingenfelter at 304-876-5397 or

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