Scholarships from Emigrant Patrons for VMU Students


On the afternoon of December 20th, students, colleagues, and members of the academic community of Vytautas Magnus University gathered for the ceremony of awarding scholarships from emigrant patrons at the VMU Lithuanian Emigration Institute and the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library-Museum. It has become a beautiful tradition to annually present the Bronius Bieliukas and Vanda Daugirdaitė-Sruogienė named scholarships from the Lithuanian Foundation (LF) to VMU students just before Christmas. These scholarships, along with those named after former VMU rector Professor Bronius Vaškelis and emigration patrons Liūtas and Francoise Mockūnai, were awarded.

The event was attended by Daiva Litvinskaitė, the vice-chairperson of the LF board, and Leonas Narbutis, a member of the LF board, who shared information about the activities of the Lithuanian Foundation. Daiva Litvinskaitė spoke about the history of the Lithuanian Foundation, emphasizing that it all began with a dream. She encouraged students not to stop dreaming and to pursue their aspirations. The establishment of the foundation faced skepticism when a few expatriate doctors conceived the idea 60 years ago. It took 12 years to raise the first million, but over the past six decades, the dream of the founders not only came true but exceeded expectations. The Lithuanian Foundation has allocated over 25 million USD for various projects and scholarships, and in the last five years alone, it has annually provided over a million dollars in support from accumulated capital, surpassing the achievements of the first 12 years. Students were greeted and informed about Lithuanian philanthropic traditions and expatriate patrons by the director of the Lithuanian Emigration Institute, Prof. Egidijus Aleksandravičius, reminding everyone that such examples oblige not only scholarship recipients but all Lithuanians to continue the beautiful tradition of patronage.

In 2023, the Vanda Daugirdaitė-Sruogienė named scholarship from the Lithuanian Foundation was awarded to Dalius Surmilavičius, a fourth-year student in the History program at VMU’s Faculty of Humanities. The recipients of the Bronius Bieliukas named scholarships this year were Tomas Genevičius, a first-year master’s student in the Art Curation program at the Faculty of Arts, Kotryna Sarapinaitė, a first-year master’s student in the Central and Eastern European and Lithuanian History program at the Faculty of Humanities, and Andrius Milinkevičius, a first-year master’s student in the Comparative Cultural Studies program at the Faculty of Humanities.

During the ceremony, scholarships from other expatriate patrons were also presented to VMU students. The Professor Bronius Vaškelis scholarships were awarded to Beata Starodubovaitė, a first-year master’s student in the Literature Creation, Criticism, and Communication program at the Faculty of Humanities, Ugne Kulbokaite, a fourth-year student in the Art History, Criticism, and Media program at the Faculty of Arts, and Gabrielius Kavaliauskas, a first-year master’s student in the Theatreology and Performing Arts Management program at the Faculty of Arts. The Liūtas and Francoise Mockūnai named scholarship this year was designated for Martynas Butkus, a doctoral student in the History field.

Photograph credits: Matas Gineika