One of the few things that brought comfort to Richard Bruce ’50 when his wife, Dorothy Wertz Bruce ’50, died in 1985 was the idea of paying tribute to her with an endowed scholarship at Cornell.
“Dorothy and I met at our first meal at Cornell in Bowman Hall,” he said. “We were married in August 1949 with one semester left. We had so many good times at Cornell it would take a book to record them all. I created the endowment to honor my wife and to give something back to other Cornell students.”
Retired and living in Park Ridge, Ill., Bruce is one of more than 15 members of his immediate family to attend Cornell in the past century.
“My wife and I, my parents, my grandmother, my brother and his wife, and three daughters all went to Cornell,” Bruce said. “It holds a special place for us.”
This deep connection prompted Bruce to create the Dorothy Bruce Endowed Scholarship Fund, which is one of dozens of scholarships supported each year by alumni and friends of Cornell.
Over the nearly 20 years the Bruce scholarship has been awarded, the family has been delighted to see the impact it has had on students. Two years ago, Laura Arnold ’04 received the scholarship, which dramatically reduced her tuition and room and board costs. Arnold, of Vienna, Va., majored in English and minored in philosophy and women’s studies.
“As a private college, Cornell incurs greater costs than the state universities I passed up to come here,” she said. “The scholarship enabled me to remain at Cornell and to apply myself wholeheartedly to my studies and extracurricular activities rather than having to obtain a job.”
Because of this, she was able to join the newspaper and yearbook staffs, Student Senate, Judicial Board, Women’s Action Group, and the Living & Learning Council. This past spring she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Now a Cornell graduate, Arnold is in the Columbia Publishing Course at Columbia University in New York City.
To thank Bruce for his support, Arnold wrote him a letter her junior year. “The letter I received from him was like a window into the past,” she recalled. “He told me about himself and his family and his time at Cornell, and of course about Dorothy. I loved his story of how they met as freshmen,” she said. “We continue to correspond occasionally, and I’ve kept all his letters. They’re one of my most meaningful souvenirs from Cornell. I’m so grateful not only for the financial aspect of the scholarship, but also for the way he took the time to tell me about his own Cornell experiences.”