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Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

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Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Hosts Leatherneck Ball

By Sgt John Neal | | April 25, 2003

NEW YORK -- The Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation held its annual Leatherneck Ball at the New York Hilton April 25.

Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps General William Nyland and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, SgtMaj Alford L. McMichael, attended the 41st annual celebration that honors corporate leaders for their generous contributions to the scholarship fund.

Thus year's honorees were John Murphy, Chairman and CEO of Bell Helicopter Textron, and G. Richard Wagoner Jr., President and CEO of General Motors Corporation.  Murphy and Wagoner received the Semper Fidelis Award and Col. I. Robert Kriendler Memorial Award respectively.

Providing special entertainment for the evening was the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, who in their scarlet and white uniforms dazzled the audience with an array of patriotic and popular tunes under the leadership of Chief Warrant Officer Brian Dix.

The MCSF has been providing the children of active duty and former Marines with financial assistance for college since 1962.  In 41 years they have donated more than $23.6 million to 16,154 young men and women.  In 2002, the foundation gave away 848 scholarships worth $1.55 million. 

For the past 11 years we have awarded more than $1 million per year," said retired Col. Fred Shaffer, chairman of the Leatherneck Ball.

After Sept. 11, 2001, the foundation pledged to support children of Marines killed in the 9/11 attacks and has pledged $10,000 in scholarship money to each child of a Marine killed in combat during the war on terrorism.

The foundation works year-round raising money through charity golf tournaments and events like the Leatherneck Ball.  More than 400 volunteers contribute to foundation's efforts.  This year, the foundation plans to complement its fund raising events with a $20 million endowment.  It will also formalize its national network and expand its fundraising operations into new metropolitan areas.

Anthony Olivia of Centereach, N.Y., won scholarship money last year and is now a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is studying international relations.  Like many students who receive scholarship money from the foundation he recognizes the value of service of his Marine relatives, and hopes to continue the Marine tradition of service in his community. 

"I want to use the funds to study to build a world ... where brothers and sisters live as a human race and not mortal enemies, where firefighters fight fires and not terrorists and so that Marine and service men and women do not have to die defending our freedoms."

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