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New Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship

New Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship


Philanthropist with Local Ties Funds Scholarship for Holy Cross College to Honor Fallen Soldier

 NOTRE DAME, IN (Oct. 12, 2012) - The Holy Cross College family will gather this weekend to honor two men; one who gave his life in service to our nation, another who, even after  his death, continues to serve others. Both men are the reason behind the Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship, benefitting veterans and their families as they seek higher education.

 Nicholas Spehar, a 24-year-old Navy SEAL killed in combat August 6, 2011, was the brother of a former Holy Cross College student, Marie (Spehar) Mielke.

The next day, David Gundlach hosted a Holy Cross College reception at his home in Malibu, California. An entire room fell silent as those there gathered stopped to pray for Spehar, his sister, and the rest of the Spehar family. At the conclusion of the prayer, Gundlach unexpectedly rose to address his guests. Expressing tremendous gratitude for the sacrifice that Spehar had made, and deep appreciation for Holy Cross College's educational mission, Gundlach pledged to fund an annual full-tuition scholarship to Holy Cross College in honor of the fallen Navy SEAL.

The Nicholas Spehar Memorial Scholarship is renewable and Gundlach designated that it be awarded to siblings, spouses or children of fallen veterans, children of veterans, veterans themselves, or other needy students who have special circumstances due to military service.

 "For Nick, that's what it was about," said his father, Pat Spehar, shortly after his son's death.  "Service to his country - he loved the men he worked with. Nick did great things before the military, too.  I'm proud of the man he was away from the Navy, too."

Gundlach, a 1973 graduate of Elkhart Memorial High School who went on to great success around the world in business, is known by family and friends for his kind heart and dedication to his humble roots.

Sadly, Gundlach died at age 56 of a heart attack in his Malibu home, just a couple months after Spehar's helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan.  Both men will be remembered this Sunday at a private gathering at Holy Cross College, including school dignitaries and members of the Spehar family.


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Holy Cross College is a Catholic, four-year, co-educational, liberal arts institution founded in 1966 by the Brothers of Holy Cross.  With a 13:1 faculty/student ratio, students find personal attention from professors who care about their success. The college focuses on the holistic development of the mind, body, and spirit.  Baccalaureate students must complete four requirements before graduation-a professional internship to develop their real-world qualifications, service experiences to develop their compassion, an international experience to expand their horizons, and a senior Capstone presentation to sum up their learning outcomes and attest to a panel of faculty and business leaders that they are ready for life after college. With a campus adjoining St. Mary's College and the University of Notre Dame, Holy Cross College provides the best of both worlds-a close-knit, small college atmosphere with the resources and social opportunities of a large university.