Apply now for Dr. Earl J. Lennard Scholarship
By LINDA CHION KENNEY
Applications are being accepted for the second year of a scholarship program named in posthumous memory of Dr. Earl J. Lennard, a much-beloved educator and long-time Riverview resident.
The deadline to apply is Monday, March 1.
A graduate of Brandon High School and a member of the University of South Florida’s inaugural class, Lennard entered the Hillsborough County school district as a first-grader at Palm River Elementary and left almost 60 years later as its superintendent of schools, a position he held from 1996 to 2005.
A history major, Lennard grew up in Palm River, one of nine siblings in a farming family. He taught at both elementary and high school levels, and as a Gleaners Sunday School teacher at Riverview United Methodist Church. In 2009, Gov. Charlie Christ appointed Lennard Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections to replace Phyllis Busansky, who died unexpectedly. He served the remainder of her term and then ran unopposed for his own four-year term.
With his roots deeply embedded in the Greater Riverview community, Lennard is well known for a slew of leadership and board positions, including for the Hillsborough County Fair, the Boys & Girls Club in Riverview and the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce.
The namesake of Lennard High School in Ruskin, Lennard died Dec. 23, 2019, after being hospitalized with a prolonged illness since Thanksgiving 2018. He was 77.
In respect for this legacy, and to keep his spirit alive, the Lennard scholarship is for high school seniors set to further their education, including through an accredited trade school or a two- or four-year college or university. Applicants must be in good academic standing, with earned community service hours and involvement in extracurricular activities.
The scholarship program is run by the Riverview Women’s Club in partnership with the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce, “with the family of Dr. Earl J. Lennard very generous in their support of the program,” said Tanya Doran, executive director of the Riverview chamber.
According to Doran, the aim is give four $1,000 scholarships to students who attend East Bay, Lennard, Riverview or Spoto high school. She said a fifth $1,000 scholarship is reserved for a student whose family member gives them a direct link to the Riverview chamber, as in the case of a child whose parent is an employee of a company signed up as a chamber member.
Doran said she counts Lennard among her most influential mentors and is especially moved by his featured quote on the chamber’s web site. It reads: “I just hope that they remember that I worked hard to make a change and to make a difference.”
Those words “ring true today,” Doran said. “It’s an honor for us to be able to give back to our community in his name.” The hope, she added, “is that like Dr. Earl Lennard, those who receive this scholarship will make a difference in the community.”
Selected last year to honor Lennard’s memory as first-year scholarship recipients were Chanel Campbell and Willow Morgan, from Lennard High, and Ashley Aagaard and Allison Powers, from East Bay and Riverview high schools, respectively.
For scholarship details, and to donate to the scholarship drive, visit www.RiverviewChamber.com. Also for scholarship criteria and to apply, visit www.RiverviewWomansClub.org/scholarships. The chamber is in the CenterState Bank building at 10101 Bloomingdale Avenue. Call: 813-234-5944.