New York State Funeral Directors Association

The New York State Tribute Foundation is pleased to announce tuition scholarship awards to four students pursuing funeral service careers.

The scholarship program, established in 2008 by the NYS Tribute Foundation, an affiliate of the NYS Funeral Directors Association (NYSFDA), provides financial support to qualified students who reside in New York State and enroll in accredited education programs.

The 2016 scholarship winners and their chosen educational institutions are as follows:

  • GABRIELLE CARREA - American Academy McAllister Institute
  • FRANK CASTIGLIA - Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science
  • SUSAN VROMAN - Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science
  • KEITH WESOLEK - American Academy McAllister Institute

Applications are accepted from first and second-year students, online pupils and those working towards a B.S. degree in Mortuary Science or Funeral Service studies.

Candidates complete an application packet with a questionnaire and submit essays describing their goals and motivation for choosing funeral service as a career path in hopes of securing a $3,000 tuition contribution.

Supported by those within the funeral service profession, the scholarship program may encourage more students to consider funeral service as a career, said John Kelly, Chairman of the NYS Tribute Foundation’s Board of Trustees.

“That’s our purpose, as far as the Tribute Foundation is concerned. Over the last few years, there’s fewer and fewer people getting involved. As a result, there’s a real shortage of funeral directors,” said Kelly, a funeral director at the Edward L. Kelly Funeral Home in Schroon Lake, NY.

Any assistance in education costs can help the next generation of funeral service professionals, said Foundation Trustee Patricia A. Knight Scholl, a former president of the NYSFDA.

“I think even it if would cover books or some of the fees attached that anything would help,” said Scholl, a funeral director at the Keegan-Osbelt-Knight Funeral Home in Syracuse, NY.

Scholarships can also help with motivation by showing students there’s a network of professionals supporting their rise into the profession, said Scholl, who received a $500 scholarship from her local Funeral Directors Association years ago.

“I think it’s important. The students need to know that, number one, we’re out there and we support the funeral directors,” she said.

This year’s scholarship recipients include students who’ve already receive Bachelor’s Degrees.

Some are pursuing their studies through online programs – a fact Scholl sees as a relatively new development.

“It was unheard of up until a few years ago,” she said.

In addition to the scholarship program, the NYS Tribute Foundation provides grants to support projects, research and education that help advance the understanding of death, dying and bereavement.

Learn more about the Foundation and its programs online at


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New York State 
Tribute Foundation

1 South Family Drive
Albany, NY 12205
Phone: 518.452.8230
Fax: 518.452.8667