Big check given to scholarship fund

By Cassie Blombaum
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, January 21, 2005

Representatives from facilities management and the College of Engineering presented a $15,000 donation check to an engineering endowment yesterday, to honor engineering students.

The check, donated by the Association for Facilities Engineering, went into the Walt Willis Memorial Fund, an endowment created to support students studying engineering on campus. One student in the field of engineering, preferably electrical and mechanical receives the scholarship each year, said Al Tarcola, director of Facilities Management.

Beth Weaver, director of development in the College of Engineering and Mines, said she was very pleased with the charitable act.

"We're delighted. A great deal of what we are able to accomplish comes from private donations," Weaver said.

The fund was set up in honor of Walt Willis, an electrical engineer who lost his life to cancer at an early age.

Taracola and Chris Kopach, associate director of facilities management, represented AFE in presenting the check.

Taracola said the endowment has been in place since approximately 1988 and has awarded between 15 and 20 scholarships over the years.

The student who receives the scholarship receives more than just financial aid, Tarcola said.

"We meet with the student, and we usually buy them dinner as well," said Tarcola.

The organization also benefits a variety of other organizations throughout Tucson, including financing charities that aid low-income families and raising funds that help buy better cancer research equipment.

"Last year we raised $10,000 for cancer research in Tucson," said Chris Kopach, associate director of facilities management.

Facilities Management in conjunction with the AFE also organizes a golf tournament every year in June at the El Conquistador Country Club to raise money for various charities. The Good Will Golf Tournament, which was established two years ago, attracts many UA alumni and as well as engineers.

In past years, about 134 golfers participated, but this year they are expecting around 200.

The event will be held June 17 and will cost $55 per person. Every dollar raised will go directly to charity.

"We contribute to about two to three charitable entities every year and have given close to $30,000" Tarcola said.