Gaston County student receives first Malcolm J. Loughlin Scholarship

A Gaston County student is the first recipient of the newly created Malcolm J. Loughlin Scholarship, which was presented Thursday, May 4, as part of the induction ceremony for new members of the Mu Epsilon chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society for nontraditional students.

The $500 scholarship was awarded to Cindy Lovelace of Dallas, a birth-through-kindergarten education major enrolled in WCU’s distance education degree completion program at Gaston Community College.

The scholarship was established in recognition of the contributions of the late Malcolm J. Loughlin to WCU, to the Division of Distance and Continuing Education (now the Division of Educational Outreach) and to the community of students for whom he served as teacher, mentor and guide.

A native of Wales, Loughlin came to WCU in 1977 from Aberdeen, Scotland, and held a number of teaching, coaching and administrative positions during his 28-year association with the university, including associate dean of the Division of Distance and Continuing Education.

The scholarship is presented to an adult student in his/her junior year who has demonstrated attributes consistent with those of Loughlin and has met the academic standards worthy of induction into Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society. Special consideration is given to global perspective and community outreach activities of the scholarship candidates.

“When I examine the contribution of Malcolm Loughlin – his leadership style, personal attributes and passion – I see a role model, and I am able to draw upon these attributes to shape and direct my future,” Lovelace said.

Lovelace returned to college to obtain her degree as a distance education student after a medical condition forced her to leave her job as a teacher assistant. She earned an associate degree from Gaston Community College in 1994, only one year after being diagnosed with a brain tumor, and then entered WCU to complete her bachelor’s degree.

“I’ve always wanted to work with small children,” she said. “This scholarship will help make that possible.”

In addition to her coursework, Lovelace is a mentor for the Gaston County school system and has served as a foster parent of many children deemed at-risk for academic or social failure. She also is a family volunteer for Hospice.

“Lovelace’s ‘can do’ attitude, determination and passion demonstrate the leadership qualities exemplified by Malcolm J. Loughlin and the Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society,” said Pat Brown, dean of educational outreach at WCU.

Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society was established in 1945 as a means of recognizing academic excellence for nontraditional students. For induction into the society, students must have an overall grade-point average of 3.5 or higher and must complete a minimum of 60 semester hours of graded credit.

More than 100 students were inducted into the honor society during the May 4 ceremony.