An Irish American philanthropist, J. Michael Mahoney, is financing the Phoebe Prince scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley.
Mahoney has established 50 scholarship across the country since his retirement. Most of his scholarships honor young people who have died due to tragedy or illness. His latest scholarship will honor the Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old Irish student who committed suicide in January having been tormented by relentless bullying in South Hadley High School, Massachusetts.
The Phoebe Prince Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund is the 24th scholarship the retired author and journalist has established. The collective values of his scholarships is more than $9 million.
In a recent interview with the Irish Emigrant, Mahoney said that he had followed, and been deeply touched by, Phoebe’s case since her tragic suicide.
He said “I read an initial series of pieces in The New York Times, and there and then I decided I had to do something to honor Phoebe. It was a horrifying case, but I’m hopeful that from this tragedy at least some good can come, and that Phoebe’s memory will live on through the scholarship at Berkeley.”
LeConté Dill, from South LA, is the first recipient of the Phoebe Prince scholarship. She is now entering her third year in public health as a doctoral student. Her studies will focus on adolescent health, risk factors and resilience. She is one of 1,500 who have benefited from Mahoney’s generosity.
“LeConté’s area of study is obviously extremely relevant to the case of Phoebe Prince, touching on many areas of research which can help to avoid such tragedies,” said Patricia Hosel, Assistant Dean, External Relations & Development at UC Berkeley. “With that in mind we are delighted to be able to offer her this scholarship.”
Those who wish to contribute to the Phoebe Prince Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund can do so by visiting givetocal.berkeley.edu.