State lags in payments to slain soldier's scholarship Donations to endowment have not been matched

June 25, 1992|By Elise Armacost | Elise Armacost,Staff writer

At the dedication of his son Ronald's memorial last summer, Paul Randazzo proudly announced that a scholarship bearing the late soldier's name contained $58,000.

He believed the state had matched almost $29,000 in private donations to the Sgt. Ronald M. Randazzo Memorial Scholarship, but he was wrong.

The scholarship contains only $34,000 because the state has yet to match contributions to the endowment, said Barry Weinberg, director of financial aid, veterans affairs and scholarships at Anne Arundel Community College.

The family feels cheated, said Leona Randazzo, the dead sergeant's mother. "We understood it would be matched dollar for dollar."

So did the college, which administers the scholarship, said Weinberg. "The assumption was that we would be funded as we submitted the requests [for matching funds], and this was how we approached many donors.

That was a mistake.

Under the law, the state does not have to match donations as they are made, Weinberg said. The Private Donor Incentive Program, created by legislation during the late 1980s, gives the state until 1997 to match up to $250,000 in contributions for each community college.

AACC has raised the maximum $250,000 in total scholarship money, Weinberg said. So far, it has received $78,000 in matching state money.

"No endowment got the full amount" of matching funds sought by the college, he said.

Only $2,700 was applied toward the Randazzo scholarship, which eventually is supposed to be matched with a total of $27,000 in state money, he said.

Randazzo was killed Feb. 20, 1991, in a skirmish near the Saudi Arabian border -- the only Marylander to die in combat during the Persian Gulf war. He had planned to study law enforcement at AACC when he returned home; his parents said he wanted to be an FBI agent.

The $1,000 scholarship, awarded from interest on the endowment, is for students at Glen Burnie High School, Sergeant Randazzo's alma mater, who want to study law enforcement full time. The recipient must demonstrate need and have good grades.

Because the college controls the endowment, it will choose this year's recipient before Aug. 1, Weinberg said.

But the family wanted the scholarship announced at Glen Burnie graduation ceremonies earlier this month, Mrs. Randazzo said. "We wanted it right there on the stage. We want his name to go on year after year."

Weinberg said the college is considering moving the deadline for application up so that a winner can be announced at graduation.

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