The Dr. Robert and Rev. Barbara Wordinger Memorial Scholarship in the Visual Sciences
Creating an endowed scholarship fund, whether in honor or in memory of someone special, is a wonderful way to create a legacy that will live on forever through the students who benefit from it. But the story of the Wordinger Memorial Scholarship Fund is long and meaningful.
In 2008, Dr. and Mrs. Abbott F. Clark established the Rev. Barbara Wordinger Scholarship in the Visual Sciences. Rev. Wordinger was an ordained Methodist minister and the wife of Dr. Robert J. Wordinger, Professor of Cell Biology and Associate Director of the North Texas Eye Research Institute (NTERI) at University of North Texas Health Science Center. In 2011, when Rev. Wordinger passed away, they endowed the scholarship fund, renaming it the Rev. Barbara Wordinger Memorial Scholarship in the Visual Sciences.
In her lifetime, Rev. Wordinger had been diagnosed with glaucoma and was very supportive of graduate student education at UNTHSC in general and particularly in graduate student education in the visual sciences. Rev. Wordinger had a warm and loving spirit that touched many lives. She was a teacher, encourager and comforter and had the heart of a pastor. Those who knew her as pastor, friend or family member knew her to be not only a person of great faith, but a dear soul.
Sadly, Dr. Robert Wordinger passed away in early 2015 after a long illness. Dr. Wordinger came to the Health Science Center in 1978, when it was still just “TCOM.” He had earned his bachelor of science degree in animal physiology at Penn State University and his master of science and doctorate from Clemson University. During his tenure of more than 35 years, he served as Professor and Chair of the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy and as Director of Research for the North Texas Eye Research Institute. Dr. Wordinger was an outstanding educator, mentor and researcher. He trained many students throughout his career and was most proud of their accomplishments. Colleagues described him as a caring and thoughtful leader who was always there to listen and provide encouragement.
To honor and memorialize Dr. Wordinger as well as his beloved wife, his children requested that the name of the scholarship fund be changed upon his death. And thus, the Dr. Robert and Rev. Barbara Wordinger Memorial Scholarship in the Visual Sciences was established. Applications are solicited from students in the School of Biomedical Sciences regardless of citizenship or residency who meet the following criteria: full-time enrollment during the award period, classification as a Visual Sciences major, proven ability in research, demonstration of excellent academic achievement, and personal integrity. The $1000 competitive award is paid directly to the student account and may qualify an out-of-state resident to pay tuition at the in-state rate. The selected student is honored at the School of Biomedical Sciences Award Banquet in April of each year.
The endowed scholarship fund began awarding scholarships in the 2015-2016 academic year and since that time, seven deserving students have been recipients of the Dr. Robert and Rev. Barbara Wordinger Memorial Scholarship in the Visual Sciences:
Historical Scholarship Recipients
2015-2016 Jaclyn Bermude
2016-2017 Hannah Webber
2017-2018 Gaurang Patel
2018-2019 Pinkal Patel
2019-2020 Navita Lopez
2020-2021 No Award This Year
2021-2022 Charles Enyaah Amankwa
2022-2023 Gretchen Johnson
2023-2024 Jennifer Pham
Dr. Robert and Rev. Barbara Wordinger are survived by a large family, including their four children, Kathryn Kane, Susan Strickland, Laurie Ashley, and Paul Wordinger. The Wordinger family is kept apprised of the status of the endowed fund annually. With careful and conservative management, the fund has grown to more than $60,000. Scholarship awards are made from the earnings; the principal of the fund will never be touched and will continue to support deserving Visual Sciences students…forever.
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
– Nelson Henderson