UCT in Action

Making a Difference Together

The UCT Scholarship Program – helping students since 1960

Posted on Aug 05, 2021 by: David Knapp

UCT has been awarding scholarships through the UCT Scholarship Program to students and teachers seeking degrees or certification in special education since 1960. Now funded by UCT Charities, this program grants around $18,500 each year to students and teachers in the U.S. and Canada to help with their pursuits.

Applicants must meet specific guidelines, and an amount up to, but not to exceed, $2,500 may be granted to any one applicant in any one calendar year. Scholarship assistance is a reimbursement to help cover registration fees, tuition, and textbooks only.

The UCT home office scholarship committee recently received two thank you letters concerning the UCT Scholarship Program – one from an associate professor at Indiana University, who benefited from the program during its early days in the 60s, and the other from a current student at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan. We love when our scholarship recipients reach out to say, “thank you,” and let us know how we have impacted their lives. It makes us feel good, and we want to share that with you. Here is an update from one of the first UCT Scholarship Programs recipients:

“During the summers of 1962 and 1963, I applied for and received two summer study scholarships from your organization to study for my masters’ degree in the study of mental retardation at Sacramento State College (now university). During the 1961 to 1963 school years, I taught mildly mentally handicapped students at Woodland High School before moving to the Bay Area. I thought you would like to know what became of me as a result of your generosity. I enclose below a brief biography of my career. Thank you for your continued support for persons dedicated to the advancement of persons with intellectual disabilities.” – Allen M. Parelius, D.Ed.

Here are highlights from Allen’s bio: A graduate of the University of Oregon in 1969, he is Associate Professor Emeritus of Education, Indiana University South Bend.He received a United States Department of Education Doctoral Fellowship in Special Education Administration in 1968 and was elected in 1970 a Fellow of the American Association on Mental Deficiency, now the American Association on Intellectual and Physical Disabilities. He taught regular and special education classes in California and established the first education program at Sunny Hills Services, a State of California residential treatment center for severely emotionally disturbed adolescents in Marin County, California.

Teaching positions have included Saint Louis University, the University of British Columbia, Adams State College (Colorado State University) and Indiana University South Bend. He served as Director of Special Education programs at Saint Louis University and Indiana University South Bend as well as for the San Juan Board of Cooperative Services, Durango, Colorado. His areas of interest and expertise include the education of pupils with severe emotional impairments, intellectual disabilities, special education administration, and school accountability systems.

We’re impressed – and we are glad we could help Allen take the first steps in his amazing life’s journey. Kudos to him for dedicating his career to making such a difference in the lives of others. We’re also happy that nearly 60 years later, we’re still helping students realize their dreams of impacting the lives of individuals with disabilities:

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to you for making the reimbursement scholarships for me possible. I decided to take this academic journey at the University of Regina to help individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I hope to have the opportunity to continue my academic journey to broaden my ability to help persons with disabilities by eventually becoming an occupational therapist.

From what I have seen firsthand with the UCT members in Saskatchewan while being actively involved in the lives of Special Olympic athletes, the United Commercial Travelers organization has the same values that I do. UCT and I are very passionate about the importance of inclusion all while having an altruistic desire to enhance the lives of people.

I would like to thank you for your two generous reimbursement scholarships for $750 each. I was so thankful and excited to learn that I was selected as the recipient of the scholarships. Thank you very much for supporting me and believing in me throughout my undergraduate degree. Your support has allowed me to have a more centered approach during my academic journey.” – Jenna Young, Regina, Saskatchewan

We should all be proud of this enduring legacy and the students and teachers we help every year. If someone you know could use some financial assistance to continue their education, you might want to check out all three of our scholarships. To all those who support the UCT Scholarship Program through your donations to UCT Charities – thank you. As you can see, it makes a difference!


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