December 17, 2017
St. Thomas More Society presents scholarships to students in legal studies
Story and photos by David Martin
SPRINGFIELD – The St. Thomas More Society of the Diocese of Springfield presented the Hon. Kent B. Smith Scholarship to two students pursuing degrees in the legal profession, Friday, Dec. 15 in the Holy Spirit Chapel at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Springfield.
This year’s recipients were Siobhan M. Murray, a graduate of Elms College and first-year law student at Western New England University and William Salifu-Tex, a senior at Elms College in the criminal justice program. Deacon William Kern, treasurer of the St. Thomas More Society, presented both scholarships during the small afternoon ceremony.
“Everybody knows that education is expensive and scholarships are welcome and are needed. We try to identify deserving and ambitious students and help them along with the scholarships,” said Deacon Kern.
Each year since 2014, the St. Thomas More Society of Springfield presents the scholarship to two deserving students in the legal profession. Deacon Kern said the award’s namesake, the late Hon. Kent B. Smith, was a judge in the Massachusetts Appeals Court. Prior to that post, he was a superior court judge. Smith also was a renowned and revered law professor, who is held in the highest esteem by members of the bench and the bar.
Recipient Murray, a parishioner at St. Mary Parish in Westfield, said attending Elms College was a great experience. Murray worked her way through college, working at the Hampden County of Deeds for three years, gaining experience in real estate. After graduating from Western New England Law School, she hopes to join her mother, attorney Caroline Murray, at her practice in West Springfield. Caroline Murray also is a professor at Elms College.
“I am extremely honored. I have witnessed the St. Thomas More Society for years, and my mother is a part of it. So, I go to their functions and I am just honored to be part of it,” said Siobhan Murray.
Salifu-Tex lives in Belchertown and is a parishioner at St. Brigid Parish in Amherst. Salifu-Tex is a criminal justice major, with a minor in digital forensics. He said he has learned a lot while at Elms College in the classroom, which has assisted him in training at the Western Massachusetts Police Academy. Salifu-Tex said he is grateful to the St. Thomas More Society and also Professor Murray, who has become his mentor.
“Transferring to Elms College has really increased my understanding about law enforcement. All of the professors have been very fantastic. Experienced professors and police officers also take turns teaching some of the criminal justice curriculum. Their curriculum is what has really brought me here this afternoon,” said Salifu-Tex.
Salifu-Tex plans to apply to graduate school at Lasell College in Newton for a master’s degree in criminal justice and homeland security.
Deacon Kern said the St. Thomas More Society has awarded more than $11,000 dollars in scholarships since 2014.
For a video version of this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s weekly television newsmagazine which airs Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. on WWLP-22 NEWS.