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Gregory Dalton Drago "Spirit of Life" Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship

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Gregory Drago
Gregory Drago

The Gregory Dalton Drago “Spirit of Life” Memorial Endowed Presidential Scholarship was established by the Board of Regents of The University of Texas System on May 26, 2004, and upgraded to an Endowed Presidential Scholarship on Oct. 24, 2011. The endowment benefits the College of Communication. Gift funds were provided by Mr. Sam P. Drago and Mrs. Hanna H. Drago. The endowment honors Mr. Gregory D. Drago.

At best, Gregory Drago was not a good student. His father, Sam, describes Greg as an “academic explosion” in his younger years. There was no question he was intelligent and bright, testing very high on standardized tests and gifted in a number of other ways. He simply had no interest in school or academics.

His father attributes his dislike of school to an early childhood colon inflammation that eventually deteriorated and became the cancer that took his life in 2002. As a youth, this led to his being the butt of jokes and surely was made fun of by his adolescent classmates. So, he did poorly, relying on his intellect, wit and inherent charm to get through his teen years.

Greg tweleve years old, circa 1981.
Greg tweleve years old, circa 1981.

As he matured, Greg began to understand his ailment was something out of his control but was something he could live with. He talked about his poor performance in school and his lack of a complete education and how he regretted not attending college. He stated that had he attended college, it’s quite very possible he would have pursued studies in the areas he eventually found tremendous interest — radio, television, film, and computers. Greg discovered a passion for these fields and worked on his own to learn and improve his skills in each. After he passed away, Greg’s parents established the scholarship in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the School of Communication because of his interest in these areas.

Greg in his twenties.
Greg in his twenties.

Greg was Sam’s only child and he believes the memory of Greg’s unique, strong character will live on through the help this scholarship offers students. Greg’s father and stepmother, Hanna, try to meet each of the scholarship recipients and learn something of their lives, their dreams, and desires so they can connect with their son’s memory. They tell the students about Greg, his interests and passions, and especially that he did not attend college but always wanted to later in life.

Most importantly, they ask each recipient to think of Greg when they get tired of studying or question finishing their degree. They ask them to think about Greg and to complete their degree for him. As a result, the scholarship has become a living, kinetic energy giving meaning and purpose to the short life of Greg Drago. Through these students, Greg lives!

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