After Texas A&M University student Cory Monzingo of Pflugerville lost his battle with a rare cancer last December, his family and friends created a scholarship to honor the 21-year-old’s courage. The first recipient of that scholarship has just been selected.
“Doing the scholarship has really helped our healing,” said Jeff Monzingo, Cory’s father. “It’s something Cory would have liked, too. He was a loyal Aggie led to A&M by his older brother, Clay, Class of 2008. A&M was the only school Cory applied to. My wife’s boss, who isn’t an Aggie but is good friends with former Texas A&M System Chancellor Mike McKinney, suggested we do a scholarship, and we were all for it.”
About 100 people so far have donated to the scholarship through the Texas A&M Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization that raises money for the university’s academic and student leadership programs. Although contributions to the endowment are still being accepted, the scholarship will help its first Aggie this fall: Will Rawlings.
“I feel very grateful to receive a scholarship commemorating a fallen Aggie,” Rawlings said. “It really shows how compassionate people are and how far they are willing to go to share their compassion.”
Cory Monzingo died of desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT), a cancer with a low survival rate. After being diagnosed early in his sophomore year at Texas A&M, he underwent many chemotherapy and radiation treatments, surgeries and even experimental procedures in hopes of assisting a future medical breakthrough for other DSRCT patients.
“He never complained, never felt sorry for himself, and never asked ‘Why me?’ ” Jeff Monzingo said. “His attitude helped his mother and me deal with surgery and procedures and kept our spirits up. He was such a great fighter.”
The memorial scholarship, which will benefit recipients for up to four years, is structured to help Aggies who have cancer (or whose sibling or parent is fighting cancer) or those like Rawlings who have special needs documented with Disability Services in Texas A&M’s Division of Student Affairs. Students who meet these criteria and are graduates of Pflugerville or Hendrickson High School receive preference.
Because the scholarship is endowed, it will help Aggies forever.