Child welfare advocate inspires scholarship

By By Trent Lowe, Staff Writer

By Trent Lowe, Staff Writer

After Patricia Rothermich fought domestic violence for 40 years and acted as a pioneer in children’s welfare, the U is honoring her efforts through a scholarship for students.

Friends and colleagues are trying to raise $25,000 to create an endowment fund that would perpetuate a scholarship for one student showing values equal to Rothermich’s own.

“She was a really wonderful, wonderful woman and we want her to be remembered for the positive things in her life,” said Meredith Simmons, one of four friends of Rothermich who created the scholarship.

The College of Social Work, which will offer the scholarship, has already received about $500 in donations and hopes to receive more. The college and friends will be hosting a memorial and reception in Rothermich’s honor Nov. 7 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the St. Mark’s Cathedral in Salt Lake City.

Rothermich was a staunch opponent of domestic violence, but was killed by that same violence last year. While walking near her home Oct. 3, her husband, Sherman Lynch, hit her with a truck and fled the scene. Lynch was later apprehended by police and charged with first and second degree felonies.

Friends hope Rothermich’s legacy will live on through the scholarship.
After graduating with a master’s degree in social work from the U, Rothermich remained in Salt Lake City to work with various organizations to combat the devastating effects of domestic violence.

During the past 40 years, she worked for the Division of Child and Family Services, Young Women’s Christian Association, the Utah Department of Public Welfare, and the multidisciplinary children’s protective investigation team at Primary Children’s Medical Center.

“She was very dedicated in her work with children through family services and she taught at the U. She did many things,” said Sue Lewon, another of Rothermich’s friends sponsoring the scholarship. “We thought (the scholarship) would be a very fine way to remember her.”

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that one in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and that an estimated 1.3 million women are victimized every year, although most cases are never reported to police.

According to the Utah Department of Child and Family Services, more than 37,000 complaints of child abuse and neglect are made annually within the state.

Rothermich’s friends want to offer a scholarship to a student entering the College of Social Work who has plans to pursue a career in child welfare. With hopes of raising $25,000, the group is facing an uphill battle, but is willing to give everything it can to see their dream realized.

Simmons said that even though the economy is down, they are encouraging people to donate.

“Anyone who knew her knew how great she was,” Simmons said. “And (we) want to honor that.”

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