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Master of Liberal Studies Program Creates New Scholarship

In honor of USC Dornsife alumna Mary Roney, the first scholarship will be announced and awarded at the program’s annual colloquium May 10.

May 8, 2012

Bill Handley, associate professor of English (right), instructs USC Dornsife's Master of Liberal Arts (MLS) student Nathan Masters in the course "Ideas of Nature." Photo courtesy of MLS.

Bill Handley, associate professor of English (right), instructs USC Dornsife's Master of Liberal Arts (MLS) student Nathan Masters in the course "Ideas of Nature." Photo courtesy of MLS.

The USC Dornsife Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program has established The Mary Roney Memorial Scholarship, an annual award given to a meritorious MLS student.

The award will provide support to students who have returned to higher education for graduate multidisciplinary work and who have excelled in the program.

The scholarship’s first recipient will be announced and awarded at the program’s annual colloquium at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, May 10 in the Hedco Neurosciences Building Auditorium (HNB 100).  Graduating MLS students will present their masters projects followed by a reception.

“We are very grateful to the family of Mary Myers Roney, a distinguished alumna of the USC Master of Liberal Arts program, for their generous gift in her memory,” said Susan Kamei, USC Dornsife associate dean for the Office of Advanced and Professional Programs and director of the MLS program.

Roney was born in 1933, the daughter of a Methodist minister.  She grew up in Camden, New Jersey, and developed intense interests in English literature and European and American history as a young person.

After graduating from Dickenson College in Carlisle, Pa., Mary Roney set aside law school plans to raise her son and daughter with husband Roger. Once her children were older, Roney resumed her education and in 1986 earned a USC Master of Liberal Arts degree, the predecessor to the MLS degree.

While at USC Dornsife, Roney researched the life of Mary James, the mother of Henry James, for her thesis, producing a fictional diary.

In honor of Roney, who died in September 2011, and her love of learning and the enriching experience in the MLA program, her family established a scholarship.

“It is gratifying to hear from the Mary Roney family about how much her MLA experience meant to her,” said James Kincaid, Aerol Arnold Chair in English and professor of English, and chair of the MLS faculty board. “This scholarship is a fitting tribute to her intense, lifelong commitment to education for herself and her support of education for others.”

The Master of Liberal Studies program offers multidisciplinary graduate studies for professional development and personal enrichment. Weekly evening seminar-style classes are designed for the working professional. MLS students also receive individual mentoring from USC Dornsife faculty and enjoy camaraderie with diverse classmates. 

To learn more about the MLS program and the scholarship, visit dornsife.usc.edu/mls, e-mail mls@dornsife.usc.edu or call (213) 740-1349.