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Frau Mary Drehsel's Memory Lives on in Scholarship for Heidelberg Students

By Nate Ethell ('08)

Frau Mary Drehsel

For a quarter century, Frau Mary Drehsel taught, mentored, guided, and loved the Pepperdine students who were spending their sophomore years or summer terms in Heidelberg. Prior to her passing in 2011 following a long battle with cancer, Frau Drehsel was a pillar of support at Moore Haus, dedicating countless hours to the students of the Heidelberg program.

Heidelberg alumni began a campaign to endow a scholarship in late 2009, seeking a way to recognize Professor Drehsel's teaching and influence. With the help of 11 class leaders across two decades of the Heidelberg program, fellow alumni, faculty, and friends who were a part of the program were encouraged to support the scholarship. The endowment was officially funded in early 2010, just a few months after the campaign formally launched.

"I fondly remember my Heidelberg days and especially Frau Mary Drehsel," said class leader Heidi Bernard ('85), executive director of Crest Associates. "She was a warm and encouraging teacher who inspired me to embrace the German language and come to know and love the culture."

Pacesetting gifts were given by Deanne ('84) and John ('83) Lewis and Natalie ('01) and Jared ('01) Hankins, with new gifts and pledges still being made to support the scholarship. To date, nearly 130 donors have given more than $120,000 to the scholarship endowment. Last year, three students were awarded the Mary Drehsel Endowed Scholarship for the first time, including third-year student Kaitlyn Dotts, who spent her summer participating in the Heidelberg-Florence Switch Program.

"Even with a challenging language barrier, spending the summer abroad is the most rewarding experience I have ever had," said Kaitlyn. "From soccer in Italy to the symphony in Heidelberg, the two months I spent in Europe truly changed my life. Being awarded the Mary Drehsel Endowed Scholarship made it all possible."


For more information or to contribute to this scholarship, please contact Dawn Pettersen at (310) 506-6514 or .