Marilyn Mathes Memorial Scholarship Fund
Established in 2010 in memory of his wife by Gary Meekins to benefit students who have financial need and pursue endorsements in special education through the Master of Arts in Teaching Program or alternative career paths serving special education students.
Marilyn Mathes was an incredibly passionate and committed educator of special needs students. I first encountered her when my family moved to St. Mary’s County in 1996 and I was searching for support for my daughter, then in fourth grade, who has a host of learning difficulties combined with ADHD. Marilyn was gracious, clear, and helpful to me as a parent, so when I needed to staff the class “Exceptionalities” for teacher certification at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, she was the perfect match.
Marilyn took a course that had – and still has – a great deal of state-mandated content regarding the legalities of special education and enlivened it with stories of real students and teachers who, together, were able to reach goals many had thought unattainable. She shared classroom strategies, modeled differentiation (before that term became part of our everyday vocabulary in education), and pushed our future teachers to think about ways to vary their teaching and instructional practices that would better support all children.
When Marilyn became ill, she carried on with the class, and shared more than just effective teaching skills. She personified Ernest Hemingway’s “grace under pressure” – showing off her scarves and wigs, laughing, and demonstrating what it means to live up to one’s responsibilities no matter what curve ball life throws.
Because of Marilyn’s integrity, professionalism, and passion for serving those students with special needs, we are delighted that we can honor her memory through the endowment of the Marilyn Mathes Memorial Scholarship Fund designed to support, each year, a future teacher who will undertake to meet the needs of special education students in ways that will make Marilyn proud. We are thrilled that our current curriculum and materials center will bear her name, a reminder to all of our future teachers and to the Educational Studies faculty of this brave, inspiring woman who gave her students so much of herself over her many years as a special educator.
-Dr. Lois T. Stover
Professor and Chair of Educational Studies
Director of Teacher Education