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Giving Back Even When It’s Hard

Mike HamrickTragedy struck the CCI family in 2005 when CCI Board of Visitors member Mike Hamrick (BS / CS ’93) passed away only eighteen days after he had been married.
To honor his memory and ensure that his legacy and love of UT and CCI’s School of Communication Studies would live on, Hamrick’s parents, Ken and Dianne Hamrick have continued to grow and nurture the scholarship fund their son established just prior to his premature death. The original Michael Hamrick Scholarship Fund, housed in the School of Communication Studies was increased by $6,000 thanks to an out pouring of love from mourners who attended his funeral service at Church Street United Methodist Church. Hamrick’s parents have continued to contribute to the fund on his birthday each year.
“Mike left a legacy of friendships,” said his father. “He stayed in touch with friends from high school, past jobs, and college. We were overwhelmed by the sheer number of contributors at the time of his death and it continues today.”
Realizing they had the opportunity to make a lasting gift to honor their son, Ken and Dianne Hamrick worked with CCI Development Director Andrew Shafer to convert the scholarship fund into the Michael Hamrick Scholarship Endowment. An endowed scholarship requires a minimum gift of $25,000 so the interest earned from the base contribution can be awarded annually as a scholarship.
Mike Hamrick was thirty-four at the time of his death and was employed by Sanofi [Aventis] in pharmaceutical sales.  He grew up in the Maryland/D.C. area where a high school teacher once told his mother, “He is going to be great in sales because he is always talking.”
“Mike was one of the stand-out students I’ll always remember,” said John Haas, director and associate professor of the School of Communication Studies. “He had a way of making people feel special, and, because he was a skilled communicator, he was able to build strong, lasting relationships throughout his all too brief life.”
Hamrick and his parents are an example of the type of committed giving which is so critical to UT and CCI today. According to Haas, deserving and talented students have received much needed help from the Michael Hamrick Scholarship.  “With the endowment of this planned gift, future generations of students will experience Michael’s loyalty to his alma mater and his parent’s love for their child first hand,” said Haas.