Former English Professor’s Love for the College Lives On Through Liberal Arts Scholarship

The June Dwyer Liberal Arts Scholarship was established in 2011, and will be funded in the coming years by an estate gift to Manhattan.

June Dwyer

During her 35-year tenure as English professor and as former chair of the department, the late June Dwyer was a tireless champion for learning whose first priority was always her students. For decades to come, that will continue. Beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, an endowed scholarship in her name will benefit undergraduates enrolled in a humanities or interdisciplinary studies program at Manhattan.

The June Dwyer Liberal Arts Scholarship will be funded through an estate gift she made to the College prior to her death in November of 2015. Before that, the longtime faculty member regularly contributed to service trips and other endeavors before and after her retirement in 2010. The following year, she established a scholarship that is currently received by sophomore English majors, Katherine Rojas ’19 and Colin Dunn ’19.  

Rojas, a native of Miami, Fla., who is currently balancing her studies with an internship at the Fordham-Bedford Housing Corporation and a work study position in Manhattan’s Archives department, says the award has allowed for an unforgettable academic experience in the New York Metro area.  

“Did you know Brooklyn used to be considered its own city?” she asks after describing her visit to the New York Public Library’s world renowned Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division during her freshman year. There, she also found an annotated copy of her all-time favorite poem, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, by Walt Whitman.

Dunn, meanwhile, is grateful to the Dwyer scholarship for the on-campus opportunities he’s had at Manhattan. He regularly attends lectures that are part of the Major Author Reading Series (M.A.R.S.), an event that invites six acclaimed writers every year to read excerpts from their latest works. Attending these readings, which regularly features Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, has been exciting, but they hardly compare to the specialized attention he’s received from professors in the School of Liberal Arts. 

“All the faculty members in the English department have been so kind and energetic and so down to earth,” Dunn says. “They truly want you to succeed and that has been the biggest thing for me as a student.”

Although both Dunn and Rojas started college after her retirement in 2010, this sentiment could easily refer to Dwyer, whose memory lives on through the June Dwyer Liberal Arts Scholarship. For years to come, the award will continue fulfilling her goal as a teacher — to make a difference in the lives of as many Manhattan College students as possible.

In addition to scholarships like this one, Manhattan offers a number of funded research opportunities to students in the School of Liberal Arts. Notably, these include the Lasallian Research Scholars program, which provides a stipend to students pursuing an area of Lasallian research, and the Jaspers Summer Research Scholars, who receive funding to complete a research or creative project. 

By Christine Loughran