Grad student looks to honor sister

Shantel-Ann Pettway

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the location of Sara Fitzpatrick’s car accident. It has since been corrected.

More than 400 endowed scholarships help pay for the college careers of many WKU students.

Scottsville graduate student Audie Wood is hoping to add his scholarship idea to that list this year.

“I’ve done a lot academically, but this is what I’m most proud of,” Wood said. 

The $5,000 scholarship fund is in honor of Wood’s late sister Sara Elizabeth Fitzpatrick who was fatally injured in a car accident in Bowling Green on Sept. 11, 2013. 

Wood was in Chicago when his sister died.  

“It hurt a lot when she passed because I was not around like I wanted to be,” he said. 

As Wood struggled with the loss of his sister, he began to think what he could do for her.

Wood announced the idea of starting a scholarship in Fitzpatrick’s name a year after her death.

“I’ve supported him since he announced it,” said Victoria Marr, a friend of Fitzpatrick. “I’ve posted every event to my Facebook and told people at school.”

Within the last couple of months, Wood decided to throw a benefit concert to help raise the money needed to endow the scholarship. 

A scholarship must have $10,000 in order to be endowed. An endowed scholarship will continue to be offered at WKU as long as the university exists. 

“The main goal for the endowment is for Sara to continue to help people like she wanted to,” Wood said. 

Hall of Fame country music artist Jimmy Fortune will be on campus April 18 in the Downing Student Union auditorium at 7 p.m. to perform a benefit concert for Wood’s efforts to raise money in order for the scholarship to become endowed.

Wood’s honoring of his sister struck a chord of sympathy within Jimmy Fortune’s booking agency, which led to Fortune performing at a discounted rate. The agency normally charges $9,000 for a show but agreed to do it for $6,500. 

“They worked with me,” Wood said. “And the dollar amount is huge difference,” he said. 

Wood thinks Fortune will attract audiences of all types. 

“The goal is to bring out a lot of people,” Wood said. “A sold out DSU auditorium will give us enough money to endow the scholarship.” 

People who attended school with Fitzpatrick are looking forward to the benefit concert. 

“A lot of people are excited for the event,” said Maggie Fitzpatrick, Sara’s sister. “I think the teachers are more excited than the kids.” 

The concert is not the only reason people are excited.

“It’s more about all of her friends coming together and supporting each other,” said Marr.  

The scholarship will be offered to juniors and seniors with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. There will be five $1,000 scholarships that will be divided between the areas of psychology, sociology, art, dance and Greek Affairs.

“If I’m investing my money into people, I want to make sure they finish school and use their degree,” Wood said. 

A general $1,000 scholarship will be opened up when the scholarship is funded and established, Wood said. The scholarship will be offered next fall. 

Wood said creating the scholarship is therapeutic for him.

“When we reach the endowment, I feel like I can let go [of Fitzpatrick’s death] in some form or fashion because she’ll be impacting lives forever,” Wood said.