Finding Meaning in Grief

January 25, 2023
By Melissa Johns, Executive Director
Audrey Ellis

Neha didn’t think she stood a chance at returning to school. She had been out of school for a decade and was a single mother of two young children. But those doubts faded when she arrived at Mission College.

Neha received the Steven Allen Dinger Scholarship, which was created in 2015 by Dr. Audrey Ellis to honor the legacy of her late husband, who left an indelible mark as a faculty member at Mission College.

The Steven Allen Dinger Scholarship Endowment recognizes an outstanding Mission College student who successfully completed business classes and demonstrated hard work and ingenuity in the field of business at school or in the community.

“Being able to offer this scholarship is a joy for me because it honors the diversity of life experiences of the students who attend Mission. Whether they are coming to school later in life or returning after a life setback, lending them a hand through Steve's legacy is an experience I look forward to every year. I was thrilled to meet Neha and put a face to a name,” shared Dr. Ellis.

Establishing a scholarship endowment at Mission College, where my husband made such a difference, gave meaning to my grief and created an opportunity for me to help hardworking students follow their dreams.
Dr. Audrey Ellis
Mission College Endowment Donor
Mr. Dinger was a passionate and inspirational leader who helped create the business program at Mission College. He arrived at Mission in 1978 after earning a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration through a joint program between Stanford University and the University of Iowa. Over his thirty years at Mission College, Mr. Dinger worked with thousands of students, like Neha, with whom he shared his love for learning and helping others achieve their dreams.

For Neha, it's been a challenge to work and attend school while parenting two children. With support from the Steven Dinger Scholarship, she earned an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Mission College, and recently transferred to San Jose State University, where she is majoring in Management Information Systems and plans to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. After their brief meeting at the annual Scholarship Celebration, Dr. Ellis is excited for Neha's future. As she says, “I can’t wait to see what Neha does next as she follows her dreams."