Courtney Sheridan (center) poses for a photo with members of the Butler family after receiving the Terry Butler Memorial Scholarship. Photo courtesy of Courtney Sheridan.
Courtney Sheridan, a senior at the University of Rhode Island, was awarded the Terry Butler Memorial Scholarship at the Men’s Basketball game on Feb. 16.
Terry Butler was the former manager of the Ryan Center who passed away while battling cancer on Feb. 25, 2011. Butler’s family worked with URI’s Ryan Center to establish a scholarship for graduating senior students who either worked or had an internship with the Ryan Center or the Boss Ice Arena, and have continued the tradition annually since June 2011.
After Sheridan was notified of the scholarship by her boss at the Ryan Center, she read more about Butler and said that she knew the scholarship was much more than just providing financial help for her.
“My time at URI has been so special to me because of my internship with the Ryan Center, and I felt that connection was the same way Terry felt about helping the URI community,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan said that the scholarship’s goal was to award a hard-working staff member of the Ryan Center or Boss Ice Arena, who had successfully balanced working while earning a degree, in order for that student to begin the next phase of their life. Whether it is used to pay off student loans, put down a deposit on a new apartment or purchase a new computer, the scholarship is in place to help students with whatever their current needs may be.
The application process consists of being graded on an 80-point scale by a selection committee of Terry’s family and senior Ryan Center and Boss Arena staff members. Sheridan said that she believed her past two years of working at the Ryan Center while balancing school provided her with the skills she needed to qualify for the scholarship.
Sheridan said that the scholarship impacted her on a much deeper level than she originally expected.
“The day I was awarded the scholarship, my family was invited to watch the basketball game in a suite with the Butler family where we were able to get to know everyone there, and Terry, a little better,” Sheridan said. “The Butlers are such a fun, loving family that do everything in their power to keep their late brother’s qualities and experiences alive.”
Sheridan said that their families had many similarities and she could not imagine everyone getting along any better. Butler’s family recalled stories from growing up together to Terry working at the Ryan Center.
“These stories mostly turned into advice and lessons from the family that I will hold close to my heart forever,” Sheridan said. “My advice to pass along to others that I learned from the Butler family is not to stress over the little things in life and focus on the importance of spending time with your family.”
Sheridan said that although college and work are important, the Butler family taught her that nothing should come before family and friends.
When Sheridan first heard that she was being awarded the scholarship, she imagined it would be a quick announcement during the basketball game. However, the Ryan Center and the Butler family went above her expectations, showing her their appreciation for her.
Sheridan recalled that the Ryan Center management team made it a point to thank her for the work she has done over the years at URI by thanking her face to face.
“This was just a reminder of how great the URI community is and how lucky I have been to call myself a Athletics Marketing Intern,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan shared that along with the scholarships they award, the Butler family does a 5K each year in honor of Terry Butler, called the “T-Bone 5K.” She is extremely excited to participate in the 5K with her family..
“Meeting the Butler family was the highlight of my experience,” said Sheridan, who hopes to stay connected to the Butler family. “We shared so many laughs and stories that warmed so many hearts knowing Terry’s spirit was still alive.”
In addition to providing a URI graduate with the scholarship, Butler’s family extended the scholarship in 2014 to a North Hunterdon and a Voorhees High School graduate from the North Hunterdon/Voorhees Regional School District. That district is where Butler grew up and graduated high school.