By LINDA CHION KENNEY
The Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce at its annual dinner Jan. 17 launched a scholarship program created in memory of the namesake of Dr. Earl J. Lennard High School in Ruskin.
There, on Jan. 11, community members gathered en masse for a Celebration of Life for Lennard, who died Dec. 23 after being hospitalized with a prolonged illness since Thanksgiving 2018. He was 77.
One of nine siblings, Lennard entered the Hillsborough County school system as a first-grader at Palm River Elementary and retired in 2005 as its superintendent of schools. A farmer and teacher, he served also as Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections and as a community leader in many capacities, including as a church elder and Gleaners Sunday School teacher at Riverview United Methodist Church. He also was a board member for the Riverview chamber and a mentor of East Bay High graduate Tanya Doran, the chamber’s long-serving executive director.
Upon being introduced as the 2020 president of the Riverview chamber, Mike Jones, who succeeds Michelle Mosher, started his official remarks at the Jan. 17 dinner with the scholarship tribute announcement.
Lennard’s wife of 55 years, Annabel Lennard, was in attendance, along with the couple’s son, Jeremy Lennard, technology resource teacher at Bloomingdale High; and daughter-in-law, Rebecca Lennard, a math teacher at Riverview High. Lennard’s daughter, Missy Lennard, principal of Stowers Elementary School in FishHawk, could not make the dinner.
“I was hoping to make this announcement while Dr. Lennard was still with us, but it was not to be,” Jones said. “It is my very high honor and pleasure to announce the creation of the Dr. Earl J. Lennard Scholarship Fund.”
Donation cards were enclosed in each guest’s Caribbean Nights Annual Membership and Awards Dinner program. Funds generated will be awarded based on merit and need to graduating high school seniors in the Riverview area. To be eligible, a senior must live in Riverview or be a family member of a member in good standing of the Riverview chamber or Riverview Woman’s Club.
“Dr. Lennard loved this community,” Jones said. “This scholarship program will help make sure we never forget his contributions to this community and, in a small way, continue the work that he devoted his life to.”
For information on the scholarship program and to make a donation, call the chamber at 813-234-5944, visit the chamber in the CenterState Bank building, at 10101 Bloomingdale Avenue or go online at www.RiverviewChamber.com.