East Amherst Residents Establish Scholarship at Canisius

February 24, 2020


Buffalo, NY – East Amherst residents Thomas G. White, MD and Sandra B. White, in collaboration with the Hilary Grace Foundation Inc., have established the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund at Canisius College.  The scholarship is named after the Whites’ daughter who, in August 2017 at age 27, lost her life to opioid addiction. 

Hilary White graduated from Canisius College in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  White was pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling when she lost her fight to opioid addiction, which has become a national health crisis. 

“Hilary was not what most people would characterize as an addict,” explains the White family.  “She was finishing her graduate degree, maintaining high grades and working full-time, all while battling addiction.” 

Originally prescribed medication for her anxiety, Hilary White spiraled downward, say the Whites, as she suffered from what is commonly known as ‘addictive brain.’ 

“She fought her disease as hard as she could.  On numerous occasions, Hilary went to in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation facilities, spent countless hours at group meetings and lived in reintegration housing,” recall the Whites.  “Unfortunately, after 10 months of being clean and healthy, Hilary relapsed, which resulted in her death.”

To honor the life and virtues of their daughter, the White family established the Hilary Grace Foundation.  The not-for-profit supports the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund at Canisius, which awards $15,000 annually to students who have completed their undergraduate

course of study and been accepted into the graduate program in mental health counseling at Canisius College.  The initial scholarship grant of $5,000 is presented to a first-year student for such student’s second semester tuition.  Provided the recipient remains in good academic standing, he/she will receive a scholarship grant of $10,000 to complete the second year of the program.  The first two recipients of the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund are: 

  • Ruth J. Robinson, of Attica, NY, earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Canisius in 2017; and
  • Aileen M. Doyle, of Amherst, NY, graduated from Canisius in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in communications and psychology.           

            The mission of the Hilary Grace Foundation is to raise awareness and improve treatment options for the national opioid crisis.  In addition to the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship, the foundation intends to offer a transitional site called Hilary’s House for those finishing a certified rehabilitation facility but not ready to return to their home environments.  Hilary’s House will offer a clean, warm, friendly, non-judgmental home combining Western medicine with a holistic approach. 

            For more information on the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund at Canisius, contact the College Communications Office at 716.888.2790 

One of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit www.canisius.edu/150 for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.