Scholarship foundation started at University of Illinois to honor student

Lawrence Kreymer

To honor Brett Lerner ’13, his family decided to start a scholarship foundation at the University of Illinois of Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). The scholarship is named the Brett Lerner Memorial Scholarship Foundation and will provide scholarships to journalism students at UIUC.

“[Brett’s] name will be associated with the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the broadcast media forever because of the scholarship started in his name,” Lerner’s father Richard Pomerantz said.

In his first three years, Lerner worked for the Daily Illini, the campus newspaper and was a co-host on a roundtable sports talk show Monday nights on the student radio station WPGU.

“The work Brett put in and the way the way he practiced his craft, made it obvious Brett had the potential to accomplish great things,” Jason Carlson, broadcasting sponsor at Stevenson, said.

The foundation has raised over 30,000 dollars and already surpassed the minimum they had planned. All donations will benefit future journalists who can possibly receive the scholarship.

“I hope that the foundation will provide for someone who can’t afford to go to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and that will help them focus more on their craft because of the foundation,” Stephen Cohn ’15 said.

According to Cohn, who studied journalism with Lerner at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Brett had the potential to work for ESPN one day. Cohn said Lerner worked extremely hard on his craft and that Brett would do play-by-play on the bench when he was on the varsity volleyball team.

“Brett was so enthusiastic for broadcasting and journalism but also was so professional,” Cohn said.

Jason Carlson who sponsors the Stevenson broadcasting network was able to witness Brett’s growth as a broadcaster during his time at Stevenson. Carlson didn’t just witness how great Brett was at Stevenson, he was also able to help him while he was at Stevenson.

“Hopefully he opens people’s eyes to the possibilities out there for aspiring journalists if they want to take it,” Carlson said.

According to Marlah Yvette McDuffie, Associate Dean of Advancement, each year the college of media at UIUC hosts the Honors Reception, an event that will honor all of the college’s scholarship and award recipients. Also, Brett’s parents will be invited to the event to see what kind of impact the foundation will have for journalism students at UIUC.

“Brett left an incredible legacy both here at Stevenson and at the University of Illinois,” Carlson said. “Hopefully Brett inspires other journalists who have his talents and work ethic.”

The scholarship will be permanent at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. There has already been a powerful foundation built as friends and family made huge contributions.

“We hope that the scholarship every year will award someone with the same passion and the same desire that Brett had,” Pomerantz said.