Roger and Pat Dubois have spent their lives in service to others. For 30 years, while Dr. Dubois shaped young minds in UMBC’s Geography and Environmental Systems department, his wife trained respiratory therapists down the street at St. Agnes Hospital.
Now retired, they have made the ultimate commitment to UMBC – a bequest of their entire estate to establish the Roger and Pat Dubois Sprint to the End Scholarship, which will help upperclassmen in need complete their studies at UMBC.
As it turns out, the decision was a no-brainer for this modest pair of educators.
“We had no epiphany about this,” said Dr. Dubois, who retired from teaching in 2005. “We are interested in work that helps people, and so, the fact that we have done what we have done goes right along with our view of life. It’s who we are.”
The Dubois scholarship addresses an often-overlooked need among juniors or seniors who face unexpected trouble with tuition payments. While a number of scholarship solutions exist for freshmen and sophomores, the options for upperclassmen are far more limited. Worse, these troubles sometimes go undetected until it’s too late to help.
“I’ve heard of students in their junior year, possibly their senior year, registering and they’re short on tuition, and they can’t go to school,” said Dr. Dubois. “And we’re not talking about $5,000 here, but a few hundred dollars. That touches us. It’s a relatively small amount for us, and we thought: we can do something about it.”
For Mrs. Dubois, a teacher herself, the choice was just as obvious.
“Education has always played a part in my life, in my growth and development,” she said. “And because I spent my life helping other people find their niche in their careers, enabling them to do good things with their lives, this is a natural flow and a natural interest that’s continued.”
Ultimately, the gift represents a continuation of the couple’s lifetime of service – one that will nurture UMBC’s success far into the future.
“Hopefully I’ve had a decent impact upon my students, to make them – above all – good citizens, but also to contribute to their ability to make a decent living,” said Dr. Dubois.
“If I accomplished those things, I’m very happy. And hopefully in the future what we’ve done here with the scholarship will provide students with the opportunity to do that, too. I can no longer touch them directly, but I can still give them that opportunity.”