Goldsmith family launches scholarship

Fund will aid top student from Southwest Virginia


Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of late second-year College student Shelley Goldsmith. In commemoration, the Goldsmith family announced the creation of a new scholarship in her honor. The Shelley Goldsmith Memorial Scholarship, endowed by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation, will act as a grant for a meritorious student from the Southwest Virginia region, where Shelley lived.

In a letter to the editor published in SWVa Today, Goldsmith’s parents thanked members of the community for their compassion and support in the wake of the tragedy. The Goldsmiths said they wished to commemorate Shelley, who was a Jefferson Scholar during her time at the University, through the creation of a scholarship in her honor.

“As an earthly remembrance of Shelley’s rare brilliance, we have set up an endowed scholarship at the University of Virginia through the Jefferson Foundation,” the Goldsmiths said in the letter. “When fully funded, it will be awarded to a candidate from Southwest Virginia who did not ultimately receive a Jefferson Scholarship but who did make it to the final selection round and intends to pursue his or her undergraduate education at the U.Va. campus in Charlottesville.”

Jefferson Scholars Foundation President Jimmy Wright said the process of setting up the scholarship was rather straightforward once the Goldsmiths established the nature of the scholarship. Nuances in the endowment depend on the donor’s intent, but that the process is streamlined, and the scholarship will soon be in effect.

“We have an endowment agreement that will govern the administration of it,” Wright said. “We have sort of standard language governing the administration of scholarships.”

He said that because the Foundation receives many nominations but has limited resources, the scholarship can not be awarded to every worthy candidate.

“We contact, I think, 4,000 high schools in, I think, 58 geographical regions around the country and we ask the school to nominate the student in the senior class that best exemplifies leadership,” Wright said. “We recognize and appreciate that the pool of candidates that come through our process every year are really talented people.”

The scholarship is similar to others endowed by the Jefferson Scholars Foundation in naming a specific region from which the Foundation will pull a recipient.

“Almost all of them are tied to a geographic area and the selection of those recipients,” Wright said. “The benefactors wanted to take advantage of our selection process to identify potential recipients.”

Wright said the Shelley Goldstein Memorial Scholarship is different from the Jefferson Scholarship in that it is not tied to any specific expense at the University but it just a grant to students.

The Goldsmiths said they hope this scholarship will create a lasting impact.

“It is our dream to grow the Scholarship to such a level that it becomes self-sustaining for years to come, and that the legacy of Shelley’s diligence in school, commitment to community and loyalty as a friend will transcend her brief time with us in perpetuity,” the Goldsmiths said in their letter.

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