History department receives new scholarship

The memory of world traveler, chief master sergeant and alumnus Thomas Connors will live on in the history department of Weber State University. Connors, who also served 20 years on the Board of Directors at America First Credit Union, now ha

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s a scholarship dedicated to his name. The Tom Connors/America First Credit Union scholarship will be awarded to a full-time Weber State University student with a 3.0 or better and a major in history in spring 2013.

Connors graduated from WSU in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in history. Connors, who passed away in June of 2012, also taught at Canyon View Elementary School. He was a world traveler who visited more than 70 countries.

“He loved history, he loved traveling. He went all over the place,” said Stephen Francis, a medieval Renaissance history professor and honors adviser.

Francis, a classmate of Connors’, attended a semester abroad at Cambridge University with him.

“He was a great guy,” Francis said. “He was always interested in education and, I think, appreciated the education he got at Weber State and in history. I think that’s why, being on the board of American First Credit Union, he got us pretty early that first scholarship.”

The first America First Credit Union scholarship was given to the history department at WSU in 1996. According to Lee Sather, a retired history professor and previous history department chair, Connors was involved in securing the funding for this scholarship. Sather said it was because of Connors’ position on the credit union’s board of directors.

“Tom was absolutely, completely instrumental in really encouraging the other board members to designate one of those scholarships to be given to a major in history,” Sather said. “Without his help, we wouldn’t have received that scholarship.”

Sather, who retired from WSU in 2008, said he knew Connors not only from a professor’s and student’s perspective, but that their wives worked together as nurses at McKay-Dee Hospital.

“Tom, to me, was sort of the quintessential, ultimate nontraditional student,” Sather said. “He was very dedicated, intelligent, always willing to contribute in class. I looked forward to every class that he enrolled in.”

According to Connors’ obituary, he volunteered at America First Credit Union for more than three decades. He began his volunteer service in 1982, and served on many other boards within the credit union.

“Tom was a very active member of the America First Credit Union, and we were so grateful when they donated this, allocated this scholarship to us,” Sather said. “There have been 14-16 or so students since that have benefited from getting that scholarship. It’s just amazing what one person can do sometimes.”

All scholarships usually take a month to go through the development office, according to Jed Spencer, the director of the Scholarship and Financial Aid Office. He said every scholarship must have legal paperwork submitted through the development office before it reaches the scholarship office.

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