The Penn State ice hockey game against the University of Vermont at the Wells Fargo Center Saturday is just another game for these college teams. However, this game provides an opportunity for one group of Scranton alumni to reunite and celebrate a special bond.
For some college graduates, re-uniting with old classmates can be difficult depending on work schedules, traveling long distances or anything else that may be going on in anyone’s life. But when those reunions do happen, one group of alumni is sure to celebrate friendships and enjoy the rare time everyone can spend together.
For The University of Scranton class of 2010, these reunions are not only a celebration of maintaining friendships, but of remembering one member of the class who was lost in a car accident less than one month after graduation.
Michael Mulhall, of Long Island New York, died in a car crash July 15, 2010 on his way to work at Camp Anchor, a camp for kids with special needs.
Since the accident, Mulhall’s close friends and roommates at Scranton decided to organize a foundation that would truly represent the kind of person he was. His roommates Sean Kirk and Michael Clark, both from the Philadelphia area, launched the Michael Mulhall Memorial Scholarship Foundation at Scranton in October 2011.
The scholarship benefits students at the University of Scranton pursuing a degree in special education, which was the degree Mulhall graduated with. For Kirk and Clark, the inspiration for the foundation stems from their close friendship with Mulhall and how he inspired others around him.
“Mike's involvement with kids with special needs and how much enjoyment and satisfaction it gave him was our inspiration. It really helped give me a perspective on why Mike loved and appreciated life and I believe his dedication to helping special needs kids defined the person he was," says Kirk.
One of the most rewarding aspects of their work for the foundation is keeping the memory of Mulhall very much alive. The events they’ve organized over the past few years have brought the Scranton, Long Island and Camp Anchor families closer and most importantly kept the memory of Mulhall alive.
“It's the memories that keep Mike with us and by starting the foundation we all have made certain those stories will continue to be told,” says Clark.
The different events that have benefited the foundation over the years include an annual 5K Fun Run in Scranton, Sea Isle City booze cruise, New York Yankees game and the Mulhall Malone Benefit game.
Ticket proceeds from Saturday’s Penn State hockey game will go toward the foundation.
These events and donations have helped the foundation exceed their five-year goal in less than a year.
“When we started the scholarship, we set a goal of raising $50,000 over a five year period. However, thanks to many donations and contributions, we were able to surpass that goal in less than a year and the first Michael Mulhall scholarship will be awarded next fall.”
The overwhelming support and donations have been humbling, says Kirk. He attributes the success to the type of person Mulhall was and how much he loved and appreciated life.
Kirk and Clark have been so grateful for the support not only from classmates but from current student and alumni. But one particular donor stands out for Clark.
“About a year ago Sean and I received an email from the University informing us that an alum from Boston heard about the scholarship and sent in a $1,000 contribution," said Clark.
Both Clark and Kirk emphasized that the Scranton family is what keeps the scholarship foundation going.
To learn more about the foundation you can visit www.mpmnevergrowup.com.