By Southwester Staff

As the 2022 graduation season begins, Peter Eicher, who serves as President of the Board of the Friends of Southwest (FOSW) announced the creation of a graduate school scholarship named for the late Coralie Fairlee, who was one of the founders of FOSW. 

The first recipient of this scholarship will be announced on Sunday, August 7th at the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly’s (SWNA) Education and Scholarship Task Force (ESTF) awards ceremony. The two organizations are long-time partners that have both provided scholarships to graduating high school students and college undergraduates for several decades. 

The Coralie Fairlee graduate school scholarship will be the first of its kind, according to Vyllorya Evans, who serves as Chair of SWNA’s Education & Scholarship Task Force. 

“We have received many requests that scholarships be given to students who wanted to continue their education after earning an undergraduate degree,” Evans said. “ESTF is delighted to continue our partnership with FOSW as we offer this scholarship named after our dear friend Coralie Fairlee.”

Fairlee was a self-starter who began delivering eggs to Manhattan restaurants from the family farm in Bridgewater, New Jersey with a pick-up truck at the age of 14. At age 17, she left home and worked her way through Rutgers University as she earned a bachelors, masters and Ph.D. studying health education, organizational change, medical information systems and sociology. Throughout her impressive career, she was able to utilize her training in evaluating programs that trained educators to work with people who had developmental challenges, create toxicology as a new occupational category at the Environmental Protection Agency and work as a policy analyst at the National Institutes of Health. 

When she moved to DC, her life as a community activist became as full as her career, and included becoming a co-founder of FOSW where she was the “secret” donor who matched funds for college scholarships each year, conducted and transcribed oral histories for the Holocaust Museum, served as President of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, and near the end of her life, chaired the Alcohol Beverage Control Committee for the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission. She never lost her love for attending the theater, listening to live jazz and joining book clubs and discussion groups, so she always had the opportunity to have her say. If you disagreed with her or tried to pull one over on her, you would often feel the sting of her fervor.

Recently, ESTF awarded a special scholarship named for Fairlee. In the ensuing years, as the winner of the now permanent Coralie Fairlee Graduate Education Scholarship is selected, the traits that made her the uniquely talented, outspoken, energetic person she was until she drew her last breath will be long remembered.

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