The February 14th Fund for the Forward, Together Forward Scholarship
In Memory of Gayle Dubowski, Catalina Garcia, Julianna Gehant, Ryanne Mace and Daniel Parmenter

On February 14, 2008, an unspeakable tragedy befell Northern Illinois University. Nineteen students were physically injured and five students perished when a gunman entered Cole Hall and opened fire on innocent students. 

The NIU community was forever changed. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters from near and far banded together to move “Forward, Together Forward.”

The Forward, Together Forward Scholarship Endowment was created through the generosity of more than 1,770 donors to honor the five Huskies whose lives were lost. To learn more about these amazing individuals, please follow the links below.

Gayle, Catalina, Julianna, Ryanne and Daniel are treasured members of the NIU family. Each was a dynamic, selfless and hard-working individual who added so much to the NIU community simply by being him- or herself.

Their impact and legacy will live on through warm thoughts and memories, as well as through the Northern Illinois University Forward, Together Forward Scholarship.

Award Details and Requirements

Up to five $5,000 scholarships will be awarded annually to continuing undergraduate students who have completed at least 12 semester hours at Northern Illinois University by the time of the application.

Applicants must demonstrate strength of character (as demonstrated through traits such as a strong work ethic, motivation, inspiration, a high regard for others, integrity and/or intellectual curiosity). Applicants must also exhibit solid academic credentials (as evidenced by at least a 2.50 cumulative NIU GPA), and good standing within their major as well as the university at large.

Recipients must enroll as an undergraduate NIU student during the 2020-2021 academic year in order to receive the scholarship. Students graduating in fall 2019, spring 2020 or August 2020 are not eligible to apply for the scholarship.

The Forward, Together Forward Scholarship is not a renewable scholarship. Recipients of the award will not be eligible in subsequent years.

How to Apply

The online application consists of several sections that ask for student biographical information; awards, honors or achievements; community service; extracurricular and leadership involvement; employment experience; and hobbies or special interests. You will also be asked to answer three essays questions and provide two email addresses for recommenders willing to write a letter on your behalf.


One recommendation must be from an NIU faculty or staff member. The second recommendation may be from another NIU faculty or staff member or from an outside professional, such as an employer, clergy member or organization advisor.

We encourage you to contact your recommenders in advance of completing the application to ensure they will have time to complete the recommendation, as well as to make sure you have their correct email address.

Recommendations must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. October 31, 2019 in order to be considered for this award. Late recommendations will not be accepted.

The recommenders should be prepared to answer, in detail, how you demonstrate character through one or more of the following traits:

  • Strong Work Ethic (i.e. through perseverance and dedication)
  • Motivation (i.e. through the ability to set and achieve personal or professional goals despite challenges or obstacles)
  • Inspiration (i.e. through being a "difference-maker")
  • High Regard for others (i.e. through selflessness, empathy, compassion and/or volunteerism and service)
  • Integrity (i.e. through sound judgment, fair actions and moral and ethical behavior)
  • Intellectual curiosity (i.e. through inquisitiveness and thoughtful and intentional discourse or reflection)


It is a good idea to prepare your essay responses ahead of time. They will be evaluated for content and grammar, so proofread carefully!

The three essay questions you should be prepared to answer are (in no more than 250 words per question):

  • What does being a member of the NIU Huskie community mean to you?
  • The Forward, Together Forward Scholarship was created to honor the students we lost on February 14, 2008: students of great character. How do you define character? Please include an example of a time when your actions or choices showed your true character.
  • Each student lost on February 14, 2008 had dreams of contributing back to their community in meaningful ways. What dreams and aspirations are you pursuing? As you are pursuing your dreams, how will your experience at NIU help you to positively impact your community or contribute to the common good?


The application deadline is October 31, 2019.

The deadline for both recommendations to be submitted is October 31, 2019. You will enter the email addresses for your recommenders, and they will receive an email with a link to submit the recommendation.

Students who are selected for an interview will be notified in early November.

Applications are now available on MyScholarships.

Disclosure Requirements

If you have pending criminal charges, have been convicted of a crime or have been expelled or dismissed from an educational institution for disciplinary reasons, you must disclose this information during the application process and provide an accurate and thorough explanation of circumstances. Disclosure will not automatically disqualify you from an award, but falsification of information may result in a rescission or withdrawal of an award.