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Kyle O'Connell Memorial Scholarship Fund

The Kyle O'Connell memorial scholarship was created in honor of Kyle O'Connell, the son of Michael '87 and Julie '88 (Belfiore) O'Connell. On February 6, 2005, Kyle passed away just shy of his 10th birthday. Kyle's brave fight against brain cancer inspired a group of USD alumni to create this scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to inspire students through Kyle's story of courage, determination and spirit to improve treatments or find a cure for cancer, to provide comfort and hope for patients and their families who are struggling with terminal illness and to be advocates motivating others to become active in the fight against cancer. It will benefit graduate and/or undergraduate junior or senior students enrolled in the sciences or healing arts including nursing, marriage and family therapy.

Continue the fight against cancer by supporting USD students through the Kyle O'Connell Memorial Scholarship.

Meet the 2013-2014 Kyle O'Connell Scholars

 Violette Simon '14



Violette Simon is a senior majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry as well as theology and religious studies. She is from currently involved in Student Support Services, the American Medical Student Association, USD Medical Brigades, and Mortar Board. She also volunteers at Rady Children's Hospital and is a tour guide in the USD Admissions Office. She hopes to earn a Master of Science in clinical anatomy and a Medical Doctorate to work as an emergency pediatric surgeon.

She said, “As a first-generation, low-income student who hopes to work in the field of medicine, this scholarship means more to me than I can express. The financial struggles of attaining an education have become easier with this award and I hope to keep in mind the purpose of the Kyle O'Connell Memorial Scholarship as I continue my education both at USD and beyond. Thank you is all I have to say, but it is definitely not enough.”

Magdalene Wilhelm '15

Madgalene Wilhelm is entering her second year in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. She is passionate about her future career in counseling and hopes that through her career she will truly be able to make a difference in many lives. Her goal is to become a licensed clinical counselor and work with patients and families who are living with cancer. As a therapist, she wants to share hope and comfort with her patients and their families. 

She said, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your great generosity.  It has been my dream for many years to become a counselor…and because of your generosity, this dream is closer to coming true. You should know that all those I am able to help in the future will benefit from your contributions as well, just as the concept of ‘pay it forward’ truly has a chain reaction. A special thank you to Kyle's parents; while I never met your son, I can tell that he has touched the lives of many.”