17:11 PM

Announcing Recipients of UST’s Full-Ride Shiffick Scholarship

An overarching goal of the University of St. Thomas-Houston is to serve. One way UST serves qualifying students is through scholarships. St. Thomas is pleased to announce two Houston-area recipients of the Shiffick Scholarship, a full-ride ticket awarded to incoming freshmen. The two are Gabrielle Kong, a graduating senior at Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions, and Anna Blubaugh, a senior homeschooler.    

Gabrielle Kong, Shiffick Scholarship recipientGabrielle Kong: Living Her American Dream

Born and raised in Houston, 17-year-old Gabrielle Kong is a first-generation American. Her father immigrated from China, and her mom immigrated from Mexico. In Houston, they met and fell in love.

The whole family loves UST. Kong has three siblings who have graduated from St. Thomas or are currently enrolled there.

“When I heard I got this scholarship, it suddenly hit me—the amazing opportunity and support I was receiving from UST, and I was so happy and excited,” she said. “The financial stress was taken away. I’m excited to start a new chapter of my life without the worries of burdening my family with sending another child through college.”

Kong believes “God had it all planned from the start.”

She has plenty of time to decide on a major but is considering studio arts, criminology or psychology.

She added, “I’m keeping my options open and trying to learn about myself and be open to opportunities that come my way. With this scholarship, I see that the Lord gives me all that I need and more to discover myself and put myself out there.”

Anna Blubaugh, Shiffick Scholarship recipientAnna Blubaugh: Passionate about the Dignity of the Human Person

Anna Blubaugh, 18 years old, was on top of the world when she got the news about her full-ride Shiffick Scholarship.

“I was both shocked and exhilarated,” she remembered. “It took a while to sink in, but now I’m just incredibly grateful because I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.”

Blubaugh feels a lot of relief and a sense of recognition.

She explained, “This scholarship means so much to me because it’s important to me to pay for college without taking on a lot of debt. It also feels like a lot of hard work has paid off: the work I put into my high school classes, college applications, and scholarship applications.”

The financial support will also allow Blubaugh to live on campus, where she plans to become more immersed in UST student life and build strong relationships. All of that as she starts to consider a major.

“I have a lot of interests,” she said. “While I am still not sure what I want to do when I graduate, some things I’ve thought of are going to law school or working for an organization that does work I’m passionate about, such as upholding the sanctity of the family and dignity of the human person. I’m confident UST will help me choose a career path where I can make an impact.”

Both Are Examples of Student Mission Fit

UST Director of Admissions Sara Johnson was pleased to comment on these two future Celts.

“We are happy to announce the award of two Shiffick scholarships,” Johnson said. “Gabrielle and Anna showcased their determination to academic excellence as well as a deep desire to pursue personal spiritual growth. They are shining examples of student mission fit with the University of St. Thomas.”

About the Bill and Peggy Shiffick Scholarship Program

The Bill and Peggy Shiffick Scholarship was established in 2009 by the Peggy and Bill Shiffick Charitable Foundation.  To date, the foundation has given more than $3 million to UST.

The Shiffick Charitable Foundation was established in 1996 funded through the estate of Peggy and Bill to provide annual need-based, full-ride scholarships (in perpetuity) to students at the University of St. Thomas-Houston, University of Houston, and Rice University. 

Peggy and Bill moved to Houston from New York in 1946 and helped build their new hometown.  Their contributions to the city of Houston included acquiring books for the Houston Public Library, building the downtown Foley’s department store, and establishing the nation’s first public television station.

William "Bill" Shiffick was a graduate of New York University, who, during World War II, served in the Army Corps of Engineers in the Middle East and Far East.  He joined Foley's Department Store in Houston in 1947 as building superintendent in charge of operations and control. He had previously worked as a mechanical engineer with the construction firm that built the Foley's downtown location. Bill's career with Foley's thrived for more than 40 years, culminating in the title of senior vice president, operations.

The Shifficks supported many other organizations during their lifetimes, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Alley Theatre, the Houston Symphony, and the Park People.