Pharmacist starts scholarship for Eagle Scouts at alma mater

Norman Garges knows not every student earns exemplary grades or holds leadership roles in his or her school. So when employees with the office of development at his alma mater, the University of Illinois, approached him about financially supporting students, he wanted to help those who might not have excelled academically but shined in other areas, like within Scouting.

Garges, who earned the Eagle Scout rank in 1986, is sponsoring a $1,000 annual scholarship for Eagle Scouts attending the University of Illinois’ College of Pharmacy. The college, from which Garges graduated in 1993, has about 200 students enrolled in each class.

He specifically wanted to help Eagle Scouts enrolled at the College of Pharmacy. As a Scout, he went on a cavalcade trek at Philmont Scout Ranch and attended the 1985 National Jamboree. He became an Order of the Arrow Brotherhood member in the Leekwinai Lodge.

“Scouting has always been a part of my life,” Garges says.

After graduating from the University of Illinois, Garges began his career as a pharmacist at the University of Illinois Hospital, where he has worked since 1993. Soon after graduating, he started volunteering with Troop 117 in Western Springs, Ill., first as an assistant Scoutmaster, then a Scoutmaster for five years and back to an assistant Scoutmaster, a position he serves in today. He also serves as the troop’s advancement chair.

He has received numerous Scouting honors including the Silver Beaver and Vigil Honor.

Deciding on the scholarship

Garges, who has an academic appointment from the College of Pharmacy, chose to fund a scholarship after having lunch with one of the college’s employees from the development office. After lunch, he was given a folder with the scholarship proposal.

“As I was walking home, I started thinking about the proposal,” he says. “I was thinking what would have helped me when I was a student. The thing that made me different from my classmates was being an Eagle Scout.”

Within that 10-minute walk, he decided to do it. “I thought the scholarship was a great way to combine pharmacy and Scouting,” he says.

“It’s a unique concept since most scholarships are based on your current academic activity,” the Chicago resident says. “This one is for something you’ve done before you even entered the College of Pharmacy.”

As a pharmacist, you have to be able to delegate tasks to technicians. It’s very much like being a patrol leader, he says.

“The desire is to have the recipients utilize the skills learned in becoming an Eagle Scout in being a pharmacy student and when practicing as a pharmacist,” he says.

Eagle Scouts who are interested and will be enrolled in the University of Illinois College of Pharmacy can fill out an online application. For other scholarships offered to Scouts from other institutions, click here.

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