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The Dolphin Scholarship Foundation is a non-profit corporation in Virginia which exists to assist the children of submariners and submarine support personnel to obtain a college education. There are currently 127 of those young people working toward their Bachelor’s degree who are receiving $3000 a year as Dolphin Scholars. That means each recipient may get a total of $12,000 for up to four years of undergraduate education. These scholars reflect the entire spectrum of the submarine community, representing all parts and ports. They are selected solely on the basis of scholastic proficiency, non-scholastic activities and financial need.

The most recent group of scholars selected numbered 43 and 42 of them came from nineteen states while the family of one is stationed in Japan. The sponsors of that year 2000 group are divided almost evenly between 23 enlisted and 20 officers (including 6 LDOs and 2 CWOs). Of those sponsors 21 are on active duty, 16 are retired and 6 left the service prior to retirement. Among the students themselves there are 14 boys and 29 girls. Most of those (32) were in high school at the time of their selection but 11 were already in college. There were 215 eligible and complete applications received for that selection and, not surprisingly, the majority were from the major submarine concentration areas. Virginia led the applicant list with 38, while Connecticut had 25 and Washington submitted 21. Hawaii, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina each were in the teens and California had 8 applicants.

The history of the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation has been marked by steady evolution, incremental progress and a lot of hard work by a great number of dedicated people. It was founded in 1961 by the Submarine Officers’ Wives’ Clubs from the various submarine home port areas. In 1961 the Foundation awarded one scholarship in the amount of $350. In 1962 the program was extended to include the children of all active duty submariners, enlisted and officers. Five grants were awarded that year. By 1963 the grants were increased to $500 per year and eligibility was extended to include dependents of active duty support personnel who had served at least six years at a submarine base, in a submarine tender, or in a submarine rescue vessel. In 1965 the charter was broadened to include the children of former members of the U.S. Navy who had served at least five years in submarines or six years in submarine support activities. In 1967 and 1969 the scholarship grants were again increased, first to $700, and then to $800 per student per year.

1967 also saw the consolidation of the funds in a trust account administered by what is now the Bank of America. In 1969 the charter was also amended to provide for the management of the SCORPION Memorial Fund, with the first of the 101 SCORPION dependents entering college in September of 1970. By 1978 fifty Dolphin scholarships were being funded at $1000 per year, and since that time both the amount of the scholarship and the number of students supported has continued to grow to the current levels. In 1987 the DSF took over management of the THRESHER Scholarship Fund and funded the remaining 20 THRESHER scholarships. Beginning with the 1999 selection, the eligibility requirements were changed to eight years of sponsor’s service for qualified submariners and ten years for submarine support personnel.

In 1990 the legal structure of the Foundation was thoroughly reviewed. As a result, the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation was incorporated on November 9, 1990 in the Commonwealth of Virginia as a non-stock corporation. By incorporating, the Foundation was established as its own legal entity. Incorporation also created an elected Board of Directors with clearly defined responsibilities for governance, administration of the program, and investment of the Foundation’s assets. In 1999 Dolphin Scholarship Foundation established a Distinguished Advisory Board, consisting of prominent retired submariners and civilian friends of the Submarine Force. The purpose of this Board is to develop a closer relationship between the operator and corporate communities.

The endowment which underwrites those scholarships has grown to $4 million through the efforts of the entire submarine community, their friends and neighbors. Over the time since 1961 the Foundation has awarded in excess of $4 million to over 700 deserving and dedicated students attending colleges and universities throughout the United States. For the near future, the Foundation is striving to increase even further both the number of scholars and the amount which they receive. It is their hope that the ratio of applicants to selectees also can be reduced from about 5 to 1 at present down to about 3 to 1. That will be done, of course, only by increasing the endowment and thus raising the amount of money available for tuition assistance.

The sources of the required funding have also grown in both level of effort of the original sponsors with consequent higher results and an increase in the number of types of major contributions. At first the funds were raised largely through the tireless efforts of Submarine Officer’s Wives Organizations throughout the United States. Those groups, in Bangor, Kings Bay, New London, Norfolk, Pearl Harbor and San Diego are still major contributors to the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation. Their Dolphin Stores, with all the submarine-related jewelry and artifacts, have generated profits which have gone to benefit the children of the submarine community through Dolphin Scholarships. The tremendous amount of hours devoted by the wives groups to that effort has paid off most handsomely in the best possible way.

In addition to the input from the well known Dolphin Stores, the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation enjoys many private and corporate philanthropic and memorial contributions each year. The Foundation recognizes those contributions by naming Special Scholarships. Each $25,000 donation is recognized as a Perpetual Scholarship and each $1,000 donation is recognized as a one-year Memorial or Honorary Scholarship. There are currently 16 of the Perpetual Scholarships and they are named as follows:
Aloha (SOWC Pearl Harbor)
Bangor Officers Spouse Association
RADM Jack Darby
Foxwoods Resort (2)
V ADM & Mrs. Elton Grenfell
Richard & Carol Hayward (3)
Kings Bay Gold & Silver RADM Jack & Marcia Lee (3)
Mashantucket-Pequot Tribal Nation
Kathleen O’Beime (SOSA New London
Rolla Parsons

Currently there are also 17 Honorary/Memorial Scholarships:
Mrs. Dot Arthur
CAPT Robert W. Bulmer
VADM & Mrs George W. Emery
Mr. Edward F. Hulina
VADM Vincent Lascara
Mrs. Pat Lewis
CAPT Eugene E. Lindsey, Jr.
Mr. Edward A. Morse
Navy League
CAPT Albert L. Prosser
Raytheon (2)
Shellback Cruises
John Michael Stepaniak
Submarine Centennial
ADM James D. Watkins

Another source of support for the DSF endowment which funds the scholarships is the sales effort of the Foundation itself.. The sale of Dolphin Calendars, a yearly event since 1963, generates approximately $5,000. Diving into Dolphin History, A Culinary Celebration of the Submarine Force Centennial was produced by the foundation in honor of the Submarine Force’s 100111 anniversary. This book includes recipes from each submarine in commission at the time of publication, as well as the best of the best recipes from a variety of cookbooks published throughout the submarine community since 1946. Both the calender and the cookbook are for sale through the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation office (address and phone number are at the end of this article).

Naturally, the process by which students are selected for scholarships is of paramount interest and it is most important that the integrity of that process be above reproach. As noted in the opening paragraph, final selection of scholarships is determined by giving equal consideration in three areas. These aspects of qualification are scholastic proficiency, financial need and commitment and excellence in school and community affairs. These judgements are based solely on the information provided by the student in the completed application, the school transcript, letters of recommendation, and a brief statement by the student regarding career objectives. The basis of consideration in each of those three areas are straightforward and easily explained.

Scholastic proficiency is evaluated using a computer program to rank all applicants from highest to lowest scholastic standing. High School applicants are ranked according to a score derived from a student’s highest SAT or ACT scores and high school class rank, as documented by the high school counselor or in the transcript. College students’ scores are derived from the student’s college Grade Point Average, the number of college terms completed, and a comparative ranking of the college attended. Each student’s transcript is reviewed by each member of the Selection Committee.

Financial need is based on the information presented in the application. Need is considered with regard to income, number of family members who will be in college at the same time, area cost of living, cost of selected college and family financial resources and obligations.

Character and all-around ability, or non-academic performance, is based on information in the application regarding extra-curricular school and community activities. In addition three letters of recommendation are required, one of which must be from a non-academic source, and these are part of the consideration. The student must also submit a statement of career objectives which completes the input for this area of evaluation.

The Selection Committee consists of the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation President, a submarine officer’s wife, a submarine senior enlisted member’s wife, the SUBLANT Flag Secretary and two educators (usually one at the high school level and one at the college level).

Prior to review by the Selection Committee, as much identifying information as possible is blanked out on the applications, and an alphabetical code is assigned. Each application is reviewed independently by each committee member, who assigns a maximum of 10 points per category. The three areas are weighted equally. With six reviewers and three categories, each applicant can receive a maximum of 180 points. The applicants with the most points are selected. The students are then identified and letters of acceptance and regret are sent. Srudents having the next highest scores in each category (high school and college) are chosen as alternates.

The President of the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation is always the wife of the current COMSUBLANT., and is now Mrs. Kathy Grossenbacher. She is ably assisted by four staffers. Mrs. Dianne Moore is the Office Manager, Mrs. Tomi Roeske is the Scholarship Administrator, Mrs. Ann Maliniak is the Public Affairs Administrator and Mrs. Laurey Perez works in Philanthropic Development.

The Foundation has moved its offices from the quarters of Commander, Submarine Force, Atlantic Fleet at the Naval Base in Norfolk to a larger, more capable space in Virginia Beach. The new address is:
5040 Virginia Beach Boulevard
Suite 104-A
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

The telephone number is 757-671-3200 and the FAX number is 757-671-3330. Any of the staff persons named above will be able to provide information regarding the scholarships and making application for consideration.

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