ASU Honors Alum Killed In Arizona Shooting

Feb 24, 2011 12:20pm

ABC News on Campus reporter Chelsea Smith blogs:  January’s Tucson tragedy will never be forgotten at Arizona State University. After alum Gabe Zimmerman lost his life in the shooting ASU established a scholarship in his honor.  Photo of Gabe Zimmerman courtesy of ASU's College of Public Programs. Zimmerman, congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ community outreach director, earned a master’s degree in social work from ASU’s School of Public Programs in 2006. Now the university intends to pay their respects to him for years to come with a $5,000 scholarship that’s part of ASU’s Spirit of Service Scholars Program. Zimmerman’s mother, Emily Nottingham, said the family was pleased ASU would be helping other students learn about public service. “Both his father and I also spent our careers in the public sector, and hope that this scholarship helps bring creative and energetic people to public service,” Nottingham wrote in an e-mail to ABC News. Members of the College of Public Programs knew Zimmerman very well and knew a scholarship in his name would be the perfect way to keep his name alive through ASU. “Zimmerman was known for his dedication to serving others, his belief in democracy, and his uncompromising respect for each and every person,” said Dana Berchman, the manager of media communications at ASU’s College of Public Programs. “The student who is selected to receive the Gabe Zimmerman Spirit of Service Scholarship will keep Gabe’s memory alive through his or her own good works in service of others.” Josefina Ahumada, an education coordinator for Tucson school of social work, taught Zimmerman in a class called Social Work with Latinos. She also helped place him in a social work internship. "We are very excited to hear that ASU established this scholarship. It is a wonderful way to be able to continue Gabe’s legacy in public service. Young social work students will be able to go out into the community and be servants because of the scholarship, very similar to the way that Gabe did. It is carrying on this tradition of social work."    Zimmerman graduated with his bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz. His former religion professor there, Paul Lubeck, holds a special place for Zimmerman in his heart. “He went out into the world and attempted to make it a better place. He was very kind,low-key and a really nice person,” Lubeck said. So far ASU has raised almost $16,000 in donations from more than 45 donors for this scholarship. John Fisher, president and CEO of Take Charge America, Inc., had been working with Zimmerman and Giffords' office up to the week before the shooting.  The organization gave $1,000, and Fisher included this letter along with the donation: "Please accept this modest donation to honor Gabe.  It was our pleasure to cross paths with him.  Gabe's passing is a real loss to those close to him and the communities he served.  Our hope is that your scholarship fund will allow others to follow in Gabe's path and his example of how he lived his life." Applications for the Zimmerman scholarship are being accepted now, with the recipient receiving funding in the fall.   

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