Anita Bridges Cruzan had a career worth celebrating.
Cruzan graduated from Missouri State with a bachelor’s in social work in 1978. She dedicated her life to social work among the elderly, HIV/AIDS patients and children with disabilities or special needs.
Now that she’s in retirement, Cruzan’s brother, Paul Bridges Jr., wanted to honor the compassion she showed during her career. So, he established the Anita Bridges Cruzan social work scholarship at MSU.
Helping a student with the same goals
The first recipient of the Anita Bridges Cruzan social work scholarship is Savannah Gray. Gray is a social work major graduating in spring 2021.
“The extra funding has been such a help to me, especially during COVID-19,” Gray said. “It’s a stress reliever to not have to worry about how I’m going to pay for school while I’m taking classes during this strange year. I’m honored to be the first recipient.”
When Bridges decided on criteria for the scholarship, she wanted the money to help a student who plans to serve the same communities she has.
“I was a State social worker for 33 years, and it’s important to me that people keep pursuing the kind of work I was doing,” she said. “It’s not easy, but it’s necessary, and it helps you put what’s important in perspective.”
Gray wants to work as a social worker in a children’s hospital, specifically with adolescents struggling with mental illness. Before she gets there, she plans to attend graduate school.
“I think Anita’s career is inspiring,” Gray said. “And knowing I have a scholarship in her name makes me proud and want to work harder as I pursue my career.”
About the scholarship
To be eligible for the scholarship, the recipient must be an undergraduate student majoring in social work, be a graduating senior and must have maintained a 3.0 minimum GPA.
Additionally, priority will be placed on applicants who have a minimum of 40 volunteer hours in the last 12 months with the elderly, HIV/AIDS patients or children with special health care needs.
If students are accepted into the Master of Social Work program, the scholarship can be renewed. Students must reapply.