DANBURY, Conn. — In memory of Ana Grace Márquez-Greene, a 6-year-old victim of the December shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Western Connecticut State University will award a four-year scholarship to an incoming freshman this fall and continue to support music students every year thereafter.
Ana was the daughter of Jimmy Greene, a saxophonist and music professor at Western, and Nelba Márquez-Greene, a family therapist. She is also survived by a brother, 9-year-old Isaiah.
Just days after the murder of their daughter, the Greenes asked WCSU to create a scholarship fund as a way to honor Ana’s life.
The fund has so far raised more than $75,000, the majority donated by individuals touched by Ana’s story. Many businesses matched donations given by their employees and several groups from across the country held fundraisers for the scholarship.
“This scholarship will allow us to memorialize Ana each year and also help a music student attend the university and concentrate on his or her studies instead of financial concerns,” said Dr. Dan Goble, dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts. “It is the right way to honor Ana.”
WCSU President James W. Schmotter said the support from around the country was moving.
“We received gifts of a few dollars from individuals to thousands of dollars raised by groups of people, and the fund has quickly grown to the point where we can award a substantial scholarship each year,” Schmotter said. “This doesn’t make the losses of December 14 any easier to bear, but the support from friends and strangers alike is an indication of the love of humanity that exists in this country. That will help us all affirm life in the aftermath of last year’s horrific events.”
The Greenes remember Ana with this statement:
“In her short life, Ana strengthened us with her loving, generous, joyful spirit. She routinely committed selfless acts of kindness: every drawing or craft project she began was envisioned not for her own enjoyment, but as a gift for another. She often left sweet notes that read, ‘I love you Mom and Dad,’ under our bedroom pillow — not on special occasions, but, rather, on ordinary days. She would not allow me to kiss her goodbye. Instead, when I bent down to kiss her, she would take a step backwards, poke out her lips and wait for me to lower my cheek — she made it clear that she wanted to do the kissing.
“Ana’s love for singing was evident before she was even able to talk. In a musical family, her gift for melody, pitch and rhythm stood out remarkably. And she never walked anywhere — her mode of transportation was dance. She danced from room to room and place to place. She danced to all the music she heard, whether in the air or in her head. Ana loved her God, loved to read the Bible and loved to sing and dance as acts of worship.”
The first scholarship will be for $2,500 a year for four years. Subsequent awards will be derived from a portion of the interest income from the endowed amount of the fund.
Contributions to the fund can be made by check to The WCSU Foundation, with a notation indicating the Ana Grace Márquez-Greene Endowed Memorial Scholarship. Donations also may be made online at www.wcsu.edu/ia/greene-scholarship.asp.
For more information, call the Office of University Relations at (203) 837-8486.