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Remembering Larrie: Scholarship fund keeps her spirit alive

Date: 10/9/2012

Larrie ThomasWhile many of us struggled to get through the rigors of one of the many academic programs at Alvernia, few have endured the battle Larrie Summar Thomas '04 fought and ultimately lost — and that was her fight with colon cancer. She was diagnosed at the age of 19 and she courageously attended classes while undergoing cancer treatments. Nick Donohue '03 shared many classes with her and was continuously amazed by her optimistic attitude and great sense of humor.

After graduation, Larrie and Nick both worked at the Berks County Youth Detention Center. It was there Nick got to see first-hand how her kindness and good spirit affected those around her. She often received letters from students after they moved on from the detention center. It meant the world to her to get updates and to know that she made a difference in the lives of these kids.

Over the next few years she continued to undergo cancer treatments, sometimes having periods of remission lasting months. Time after time she fought over and over again, never giving up, and doing it always with a positive attitude. In January of 2007, the cancer was so extensive that Larrie was given only three months to live. She passed away two weeks later in February at the age of 24.

Nick was so inspired by Larrie that he created the Larrie Summar Scholarship to keep the memory of Larrie alive and to honor her tenacious yet loving spirit that represents so many who enter into the Criminal Justice field. She left this world too soon and he would like nothing more than to educate future generations about the courage and determination of his friend and classmate.

Please consider joining Nick in this effort. The more money we secure, the more scholarships we are able to award. Gifts of any amount will help criminal justice students in need of financial support but also honor the memory of Larrie.

If you’re interested in supporting the Larrie Summar Thomas Scholarship fund, you can do so online at www.alvernia.edu/give or call Thomas Minick ‘98, M'10 at 610-790-2862 or email him at thomas.minick@alvernia.edu.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.