The Mr. John H. and Mrs. Geraldine U. Sheehan Liberal Arts Scholarship
John H. and Geraldine U. Sheehan created this scholarship to 'give something back' to the Watertown community. The Sheehans also wanted to provide a Jefferson Community College student with an educational start, they said, one that 'begins with a good, solid liberal arts education because it provides the foundation from which thought begins.'
'We're deeply interested in education,' added Mr. Sheehan. 'When we came to Watertown, there was no college here. We felt it was important to support the founding of the college.'
Offered for the first time in 1991, a scholarship recipient must be a JCC liberal arts student of high academic standing.
For 30 years, Mr. and Mrs. Sheehan have been dedicated north country residents, using much of their energy to raise funds for local organizations. It has been estimated that they have raised more than $600,000 for charitable causes, educational programs and cultural activities in Northern New York, including Hospice of Jefferson County, the Samaritan Medical Center (formerly the House of the Good Samaritan), the Watertown Morning Musicales and the First Presbyterian Church Building Fund.
The Sheehans organized the first Mayor's Ball in Watertown, an annual event that supports the Jefferson Community College Foundation and a selected north country service organization, raising more than $12,000 that first year.
Their desire to see the cultural arts regionally promoted led to their involvement with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center, the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Tri-County Arts Council.
Specifically, Mr. Sheehan is on the advisory boards of The Salvation Army in Watertown and the Alzheimer's Association of Central New York, Jefferson County Unit. He was a member of the Watertown chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives and past director of Hospice.
Mrs. Sheehan is on the board of directors of the Syracuse Symphony, the Watertown Morning Musicales and the Minna Anthony Common Nature Center. She was past president of the Samaritan Medical Center auxillary and was on the JCC Foundation board for six years during the tenure of JCC President John T. Henderson
The State University College at Potsdam presented Mr. and Mrs. Sheehan with its 1994 Distinguished Service Award, recognizing them for their outstanding philanthropic accomplishments.
Additionally, Mrs. Sheehan was presented with the prestigious 1987 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award, given annually to Watertown's outstanding citizen, and was named an Honorary First Citizen of the City of Watertown.
She was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the International Rotary Club in 1994 and received a 1993 North Country Citation from St. Lawrence University. She was also awarded the YWCA's Abe Cooper Award in 1963, presented to the woman who contributed the most to the organization during the year.
Mr. Sheehan, a Boston University graduate, was employed by Aetna Life and Casuality Co. of Harford, Connecticut, for more than 30 years, retiring in 1977.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Sheehan for providing this scholarship.