A new scholarship, the Carolyn Yvonne Looney Scholarship in Deaf Education was awarded for the first time this summer for the 2014-2015 academic year in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Due to the generosity of a remarkable young woman who, when she learned that she had only a short time to live, along with her parents endowed a scholarship so that other TWU students could attain their goals.
In May of 2013, after faculty within her department had determined that Carolyn had completed the requirements for her Masters Degree in Deaf Education, TWU awarded her degree posthumously, with her parents, Charles and Paula as well as her younger sister Elaine, accepting the degree.
Such an act of selflessness was right in character for Carolyn, who was known as “Care” to family and friends. Despite being born with a severe hearing loss in one ear and having difficulty pronouncing words she did not hear clearly, Carolyn did not let that interfere with doing the things she set her mind to. She participated in marching band in high school and was recognized with the “Takes a Lickin’ and Keeps on Tickin'” award. No matter what the endeavor, she contributed wherever help was needed. Carolyn excelled in science classes and dreamed of becoming a teacher.
Determination was another characteristic that Carolyn personified throughout her life. Despite the disappointment of not being accepted at Texas A&M her freshman year, she attended UT San Antonio becoming an honor student and transferred to TAMU the next year to fulfill the goal of graduating as an Aggie. Holding a degree in Bioenvironmental Science, she interviewed for more than 30 teaching positions without being hired. But true to her nature, Carolyn pitched-in where needed, as a substitute teacher in math, science and special education and in Kids Involvement Network, an after-school program within San Antonio’s North East Independent School District. One-on-one tutoring was a strength, and she became a valued tutor for several years in the Math Lab at St. Philip’s College.
Carolyn had a long-time interest in and had developed some proficiency in American Sign Language (ASL) and with encouragement from a supervisor to seek an advanced degree, she enrolled at Texas Woman’s University to earn her degree in Deaf Education. She hoped to teach math and science to hearing impaired children.
Although she fought a gallant battle against cancer, “Care” passed away on December 3, 2012, at the age of 32. A few days prior to her death she and her parents decided to set up a scholarship endowment at TWU to help fund graduate education and/or teacher certification for those wishing to teach Math and/or Science to students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing. TWU was able to establish that fund in her name so that contributions could be made in her honor.
Carolyn’s family came to TWU in June to meet Lindsey Fry, the first recipient of the Carolyn Yvonne Looney Scholarship in Deaf Education. They presented her with an engraved award to recognize her selection to receive the scholarship. Lindsey, a May 2014 graduate of TWU began her graduate studies in the summer with the goal to teach math to middle school students who are deaf or hard of hearing. Lindsey is the mother of three young boys and has worked as an interpreter for the deaf.
TWU recognizes the courage of Carolyn and the generosity of her family. Her legacy will live for many years, beginning with a deserving student, Lindsey Fry.