Amherst Bee Article- February 25, 2020– East Amherst residents Dr. Thomas White and Sandra White, in collaboration with the Hilary Grace Foundation Inc., have established the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund at Canisius College. The scholarship is named after the Whites’ daughter who, in August 2017 at age 27, lost her life to opioid addiction.
Hilary White graduated from Canisius College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. White was pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling when she lost her fight to opioid addiction, which has become a national health crisis.
“Hilary was not what most people would characterize as an addict,” the White family said. “She was finishing her graduate degree, maintaining high grades and working full-time, all while battling addiction.”
Originally prescribed medication for her anxiety, Hilary White spiraled downward, according to the Whites, as she suffered from what is commonly known as “addictive brain.”
“She fought her disease as hard as she could. On numerous occasions, Hilary went to in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation facilities, spent countless hours at group meetings and lived in reintegration housing,” recall the Whites. “Unfortunately, after 10 months of being clean and healthy, Hilary relapsed, which resulted in her death.”
To honor the life and virtues of their daughter, the White family established the Hilary Grace Foundation.
The nonprofit supports the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund at Canisius, which awards $15,000 annually to students who have completed their undergraduate course of study and have been accepted into the graduate program in mental health counseling at Canisius College.
The initial scholarship grant of $5,000 is presented to a first-year student for such student’s second semester tuition. Provided the recipient remains in good academic standing, he/she will receive a scholarship grant of $10,000 to complete the second year of the program. The first two recipients of the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund are:
Ruth Robinson of Attica, who earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Canisius in 2017.
Aileen Doyle of Amherst, who graduated from Canisius in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology.
The mission of the Hilary Grace Foundation is to raise awareness and improve treatment options for the national opioid crisis. In addition to the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship, the foundation intends to offer a transitional site called Hilary’s House for those finishing with a certified rehabilitation facility but not ready to return to their home environments, according to the college.
Hilary’s House will offer a clean, warm, friendly, non-judgmental home combining Western medicine with a holistic approach.
For more information, visit www.hilary gracefoundation.org.