Bishop Frank J. Dewane with members of the Board of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida and some of the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship recipients at the Catholic Center on May 22 in Venice. (PHOTO BY BOB REDDY | FC)

12 Mary Fran Carroll scholarships awarded

Venice  |  The 2019 Mary Fran Carroll Scholarships were recently announced by the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. This is the third year for the scholarship, which was made possible through the Catholic Legacy of Mary Fran Carroll and her generous gift to the Foundation.

As a result, 11 traditional academic scholarships were awarded to recent high school graduates exclusively from Sarasota County. They are: from Pine View School; 

Kaitlyn Carico, Rebekah Carico and Matthew Vaccaro; from Sarasota Military Academy, Logan Clapp; from Sarasota High School, Taryn Darley; from North Port High School, Kristina Groshev and Emily Rumisek; from Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School, Shannon Kennelly, Leo Ramirez II and Tristan Shipe; and from Venice High School, Abigail Solovyev. In addition, one non-traditional academic scholarship was awarded to Elizabeth Im.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane, along with the members of the Foundation Board, led a presentation ceremony May 21 at the Catholic Center in Venice where nearly all of the scholars were present to be recognized. Each scholarship is for $3,000, which will go towards their tuition, books and fees. The scholarships are renewable for up to five years.

Bishop Dewane noted that he had the opportunity to know Mary Fran Carroll and saw in her a successful businesswoman who had a determination to help young people have a strong start in their education through the scholarship.

“She was also very passionate about her faith,” Bishop Dewane said. “I strongly agree that faith needs to be an important component in one’s life; not just the academic side or the professional side. Let faith be a component in your life, to help you become a well-rounded individual. “

The students expressed their gratitude for the scholarship and noted how it will help with their school bills. Further, each shared how they learned about the Mary Fran Carroll Scholarship and offered suggestions on promoting it in the future.

Matthew Vaccaro, of Pine View High School who attends Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, has been accepted to the University of Central Florida where he plans to go onto medical school to become a surgeon. “This is going to really help, with the bills that are going to be piling up. Thank you so much.”

Tristan Shipe, of Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School and Incarnation Parish, will be going to Ave Maria University to study health sciences to potentially become a physical therapist. “I feel I want to give back to the community and helping people would be so rewarding.”

Elizabeth Im, the non-traditional scholar who graduated from high school four years ago, said her scholarship will help her pay for the first semester of a nursing program at State College of Florida. She would not have had the opportunity to go back to school if not for the scholarship and expressed her deepest gratitude because as a young mother, it would have been nearly impossible to afford to go to school otherwise.

The traditional scholarships were open to Sarasota County graduating seniors and recent high school graduates from private or public high schools who wish to pursue an undergraduate degree at any accredited college or university. In addition, the non-traditional scholarships were open to adult learners who were returning to school to obtain a college degree or vocational certification after being out of high school for several years.

The scholarships are named for Mary Fran Carroll, a successful businesswoman who dedicated her life to her faith, to fun and to charity. She retired as an executive with Northern Trust Co. in the late 1980s, before serving as CEO of Schroeder-Manatee Ranch for more than a decade. In that role, Carroll was responsible for much of the development of Lakewood Ranch, including the Sarasota Polo Club and the Lakewood Ranch Corporate Business Park.

Carroll gave a gift of $3.6 million to establish the scholarship fund to help others achieve career success through her legacy, explained Catholic Community Foundation Executive Director Michael Morse. Carroll was committed to providing opportunities to those individuals willing to work hard to make a difference in the community.

Scholarship applicants were asked to complete an online application and financial needs assessment in addition to submitting a clearly articulated career plan describing their chosen course of study. Traditional students needed to be accepted into an accredited college or university, and non-traditional students needed to be accepted into an accredited college, university or vocational program.

The Foundation Scholarship Committee carefully reviewed applications before determining the worthiest applicants. The scholarship can be used for tuition, books and fees. Scholarships may also be renewed annually up to a total of five academic years for students maintaining a minimum unweighted GPA of 3.2 or greater, while also making progress toward their career goal. Scholarship recipients are strongly encouraged to complete an ethics course at some point in their college career.

The Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. was established to provide philanthropic opportunities for individuals, such as Mary Fran Carroll, to create lasting gifts in support of Catholic programs and ministries within the Diocese of Venice. Last year alone, the Foundation distributed $1.2 million in endowed support for Catholic Schools, Parishes, Seminarian education, programs for the needy, college scholarships and more.

To learn more about the Catholic Community Foundation, please contact Michael Morse at 941-441-1124 or by email at  You can also visit the Foundation website at