Executive Director Tony Clark told Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies recipients about the man for whom the award is named during a luncheon in their honor at the Major League Baseball Players Association office on Monday, June 5.
“Michael was an encourager,” Clark told students. “He was someone who I leaned on quite a bit. He’s someone who reminds us daily of what we’re doing and why.” In attendance as guests of the Players Trust were 2017 award recipients Melissa Britton, Colleen Fewer, Samantha Groark, Susannah Maltz and Tyler Somes, as well as Denis Nolasco, a 2016 recipient who was studying abroad at the time of last year’s luncheon.
Each of these outstanding individuals receives a $10,000 scholarship from the Players Trust to help defray some of their academic costs.
To be eligible for the Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies, individuals must be graduate or law students and have a demonstrated interest and aspire to a career working in the labor movement and on behalf of workers’ rights.
To receive an award, eligible candidates must meet a combination of criteria including a superior academic record, a demonstrated commitment to the labor movement, a strong recommendation from an academic or a labor/worker’s rights practitioner, and an excellent display of written and oral communication skills.
Weiner spent 25 years, nearly his entire professional career, with the MLBPA working in support of the Players – past, present and future. Despite being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in August of 2012, Weiner waged an inspiring battle against his disease as he continued to work on behalf of the Players right up to the time of his passing in November 2013, at the age of 51.
The scholarship recipients had the opportunity to meet Clark; members of the scholarship committee, including Diane Margolin (Weiner’s widow), General Counsel Dave Prouty and Assistant General Counsel Bob Lenaghan; Players Trust Director, Melissa Persaud; Curt Flood’s widow, Judy Pace Flood; Weiner’s daughters, Margie and Sally, as well as other members of the Players Association staff.
Prouty opened the event by welcoming the recipients and stressing the importance of the scholarship, which is named after the Players Association’s late executive director, as well as the efforts of the winners.
“The fact that you are a recipient of the Michael Weiner Scholarship (for Labor Studies) is very important,” Prouty said.
Prouty went on to state that while the award is a high honor, members of the committee that helped select the winners are expecting great things from this year’s class.
Persaud echoed Prouty’s statement, saying “it’s something really special to receive a scholarship in Michael’s name.”
Each of the recipients had the opportunity to ask questions about various topics that related to their studies the Players Association and labor issues in general. The group’s conversation at the luncheon could be described as a meeting of minds with a passion for the labor movement and helping working people.
“The community building aspect was very moving,” Maltz said. “Sitting in here today and listening to everybody’s stories and the questions being answered was really special.”
“I think it’s great to have the connection with the individuals in this room today,” Britton added. “This was something I was looking forward to.”
It was clear how appreciative the recipients were of the honor.
“I want to thank Diane and everyone on the committee for this opportunity,” Somes said. “This has been the most fascinating experience for me because I’m a huge baseball fan,.To combine that with the labor movement, which is my real passion and my career, is the most interesting confluence of things that could’ve happened.”
Margolin, who is active in the scholarship’s process every year, was enthusiastic about meeting the winners she helped choose.
“It’s so nice to look into the future and see that there are such talented individuals who are willing to devote themselves to labor-side efforts. For me personally, it’s a nice way to look back on Mike’s career and what it meant to him and the happiness it brought him to do this kind of work. I’m hoping it is the same for these young folks.”
On this year’s crop, Senior Advisor to the Executive Director Rick Shapiro said, “Hearing your stories and reading your résumés has been truly inspiring. So, thank you.”
The scholarship application for the 2018 Michael Weiner Scholarship for Labor Studies will be posted in July 2017, at http://playerstrust.org/programs/michael-weiner-scholarship-labor-studies/
You can read more about each of this year’s scholarship winners, here.