UF alum remembered with scholarship — (The Gainesville Sun)

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The Gainesville Sun

By STEPHANIE DOWLING

February 22. 2007 6:01AM

Special to the SunA new scholarship is offered this semester to honor the memory of a University of Florida graduate who died in 2005.

The Association of Hispanic Alumni and the Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures offer the Amalie Alvarez-Lehman Memorial Scholarship, named for the woman who suffered from borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder. Alvarez-Lehman was a Florida Cicerone and a member of the Phi Beta Pi sorority at UF. She also received a leadership award from the AHA.

Lehman’s mother, Amalia Alvarez, was the first Hispanic woman to graduate from UF with a Ph.D. in 1974. She was a founder of the Cuban American Student Association, among other leadership positions.

“My daughter followed in my footsteps,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez-Lehman was a professor at New York University, keeping her mental disorders at bay, her mother said.

“People that knew her loved her,” Alvarez said. “Her smile was magic.”

In a manic moment after Amalie and her boyfriend separated, Amalie took a whole bottle of prescription Wellbutrin, Alvarez said. People with borderline personality disorder cannot stand abandonment and impulsively harm themselves, she said.

“I never believed how really sick she was. She looked great and was modeling,” she said. “We need more education (on mental illness.)”

“The scholarship focuses on leadership and community service,” said Desiree Zerquera, AHA scholarship program coordinator.

“We are looking for people who can honor Amalie’s memory through their positive service contributions to the Hispanic-Latino community here at UF,” she said.

The scholarship will award $1,000 to one UF undergraduate who, through community service, is a role model to the Hispanic-Latino community, she said.

The application requires a short essay, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a UF transcript. Applications must be turned in by Friday at 5 p.m. to the IHLC, 1504 W. University Ave. For more information about the Amalie Alvarez-Lehman Memorial Scholarship and the IHLC, visit http://www.dso.ufl.edu/multicultural/lacasita/.