Professor Emeritus Stuart Flanagan believes education can improve both individual lives and society at large. It's this belief that led him to endow four scholarships for students at the William & Mary School of Education: the New Horizons Family Counseling Center Scholarship and the S. Stuart Flanagan Family Scholarship, Graduate Fellowship and Mathematics Scholarship.
These endowments together have benefited 19 undergraduate and graduate students by providing tuition or other financial assistance over the last five years. Flanagan has given more than $621,000 to the university with over a third designated for scholarships in the W&M School of Education.
"Giving to education is a way to have a chance at improving mankind. We need leaders in this country who can speak and think well," Flanagan said. "We need students from all backgrounds who are able to be those leaders and make contributions to our society. When you give to colleges, every cent is going toward the next generation."
Flanagan served as professor of mathematics education at William & Mary for almost 30 years and also taught high school science and mathematics. He had a special interest in testing and developed assessments to prepare students for state testing in public schools across the country.
While all of the scholarships Flanagan endowed are for W&M School of Education students, specifically those training to be family counselors or K-12 teachers, Flanagan said he included two main criteria when establishing his scholarships. Students must demonstrate need, and they must have a record of service to others.
"Giving of yourself — if you don't have that as a teacher, you're missing the boat," Flanagan said.
His most recent endowment supports the New Horizons Family Counseling Center, the W&M School of Education's student-operated family counseling teaching clinic. It offers free services to families of students referred by the public schools in the local area, and provides clinical experiences in marriage and family counseling for both master’s and doctoral-level graduate students.
For Flanagan, family is very important. Supporting the counseling center allows him to strengthen local families while also honoring his family, for whom he named his scholarships.
"If I've been successful, it's because of my family," he said. "My parents highly valued our education and had to sacrifice for it. They were very giving people and giving was expected of us."
Victor Tuazon is a S. Stuart Flanagan Family Graduate Fellowship recipient. He is a current Ph.D. candidate at the W&M School of Education, a doctoral intern at New Horizons and the student director of the New Leaf clinic, which counsels students struggling with substance abuse.
"I am glad to be giving back to the causes Dr. Flanagan is passionate about," he said. "Having that financial support allows me to get so much more out of my education — not worrying so much about tuition gives me the flexibility to do research, present at conferences, purchase the things I need and give my time."
Victoria Carroll M.A.Ed. ’17 said that receiving the S. Stuart Flanagan Family Scholarship enabled her to start her teaching career and prepared her for anything her students throw her way. Victoria is currently teaching middle school-level English as a Second Language in Richmond Public Schools.
"Even as a first-year teacher, I feel so prepared, because I was able to go to William & Mary and get a great education and meaningful practicum experience," she said. "Education provides power to students who might come from disadvantaged situations, and can give them hope."