A mother’s legacy lives on
A planned gift supports student scholarships; turns a dream into reality for one Duke undergraduate
It was college tour time, and Courtney Crump wasn’t planning on liking Duke. Some in her family even preferred a lighter shade of blue.
But once on campus, she was a convert.
“I found myself imagining living in Few Quad, eating at the Bryan Center, and studying in Perkins. I was really interested in DukeEngage and undergraduate research,” said Courtney, now a sophomore. “It felt like I belonged.”
From the start, her student experience was everything she envisioned and more. The night of her freshman orientation, she remembers staying up until 4 a.m. discussing the merits of health care reform with her new classmates.
“I’ve always wanted to be surrounded by academically minded people, and I found that at Duke. I’m amazed at how much I learn from my peers.”
Courtney is studying psychology and neuroscience, and she recently earned a coveted undergraduate position volunteering in professor Staci Bilbo’s brain sciences lab. She’ll assist a postdoc in researching addiction in rodents.
As the secretary for Duke University Circle K, a branch of an international service organization, Courtney has helped tutor local Durham students. Courtney is also active in the Chi Omega fraternity, Duke Wesley Fellowship, and she is currently the youngest resident assistant in Keohane Quad.
Without financial aid, Courtney’s rich Duke experience would not have become a reality.
“If I had to take out student loans for all of my education, I wouldn’t have applied to Duke,” she said. “Access to financial aid meant that I could go to a school that I really loved, rather than one I could afford.”
Courtney’s undergraduate scholarship is made possible by the estate of Marie Giddings Parker, a fellow Floridian who loved life and Duke like Courtney does. A 1960 graduate of the Woman’s College, Parker was diagnosed with cancer at 21.
“My mom always believed that it was important to give back to the community, both financially and also as a volunteer,” said Parker’s daughter, Jennifer LaVia ’85. “I think she always knew she wouldn’t have long in the world, but it was important to her to make a mark and to leave the world a better place.”
LaVia said her family is happy that the memory of her mother, who passed away in 1990, and grandmother Antoinette Giddings Ralston, for whom the scholarship is named, live on through the students the fund supports.
“Duke is so special to our family because that’s where my parents met, where I met my husband, and where we all made friendships that will last a lifetime,” LaVia said. “My mom felt fortunate to go to Duke and to send her children to college. She wanted to make sure that other families have the same opportunity.”
After Duke, Courtney hopes to pursue a Ph.D. But before she gets there, she’s just looking forward to her next two years. “Duke has and will continue to shape me, both as a student and as a woman,” she said. “I want to extend my deepest thanks to donors. Without this support, I would be a very different person.”
Maximize your impact at Duke. Planned gifts like Parker’s help set Duke’s trajectory for the future. You, too, can leave a legacy that benefits the people, places, and programs you love most. Duke’s Office of Gift Planning can help.