The Richardson Scholarships

Laurie Ann Richardson Scholarship

Laurie Ann Richardson, a lifelong resident of Tampa, Florida, was articulate, musically talented, and possessed a genuine concern for and a desire to help others.  She cultivated a warm, personal relationship with many people whose lives she touched.  Laurie's tremendous love for children and teaching was influenced by her developmentally-delayed older sister and her parents who are teachers. 

Her desire to teach was inspiring and evidenced in her academic excellence and choice of extracurricular activities.  Laurie earned a degree in Special Education in 1984 from the University of South Florida. She achieved the highest grade point average (4.0) in the Department of Special Education and was the 1984 recipient of the College of Education Senior Class Highest Academic Honors Award.

Just three weeks before her graduation and four days before she was to receive this award, Laurie died tragically in a car accident on March 31, 1984.  Her life ended before she could experience her ultimate dream of teaching children with learning disabilities.

During the 1984 Department of Special Educaton banquet, this award was officially named the Laurie Ann Richardson High Academic Award.  A plaque honoring Laurie and the annual recipients of the award, is displayed in the College of Education's main office.  Plaques honoring Laurie's scholarship and its annual recipients are also displayed in the College of Education's Exceptional Student Education department, and the Hillsborough County Schools Velasco Student Services Center in the Laurie Ann Richardson conference room on the 2nd floor.

On the first anniversary of Laurie's death, March 31, 1985, Laurie's parents, using funds that Laurie had earned during her inspirational life, established the Laurie Ann Richardson Endowed Memorial Scholarship in the USF Exceptional Student Education program.  Each year, the name of the current scholarship recipient is engraved on a plaque in honor of Laurie and the scholarship recipient's academic and personal achievements.

The Laurie Ann Richardson Memorial Scholarship was established by Laurie's parents, Jack and Alice Richardson, in memory of her commitment to Special Education.  Laurie shared her talents with all those in need of exceptional education, and her life was dedicated to excellence in education.  Through this scholarship, Jack and Alice Richardson hope that such dedicated students will be afforded the opportunity to continue their education.