The Battle Against Addiction

March 29, 2022
Hilary Grace White

Hilary White graduated from Canisius University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.  She was pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling when she lost her fight to opioid addiction, a national public health crisis with devastating consequences.   Originally prescribed medication for her anxiety, White spiraled downward as she suffered from what is commonly known as ‘addictive brain.’ 

Her parents, Thomas G. White, MD and Sandra B. White, established the Hilary Grace White ’12 Scholarship Fund at Canisius University.  The scholarship 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. 

“The scholarship funded by the White family provided additional financial support, which allowed me to focus on expanding my knowledge and skills in the program,” says recipient Rue J. Robinson ’17, MS ’20.  “But it offered more than financial aid,” she continues.  “Connecting with the White family deepened my personal awareness and connection to the devastation of this opioid crisis.  At a professional level, this motivated me to explore substance use counseling and treatment programs in greater detail to truly understand where the structural changes need to happen.” 

Robinson is a clinical therapist at Genesee County Mental Health where she provides psychotherapy and psychoeducation, and screens patients for risk factors of substance misuse.

“It’s been an honor to uphold Hilary’s character far beyond my time at Canisius,” she concludes.  “I hope future applicants uphold Hilary’s legacy for years to come.”