By SARAH FINNEY
On Wednesday night, the fourth annual Topher Bill Memorial Scholarship Auction was held in Chandler Hall.
The University of Mary Washington’s Psychology Department, with the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society, helped plan, organize and operate this public scholarship auction.
The auction helps to support and fund the Topher Bill Memorial Scholarship. Named after the late J. Christopher “Topher” Bill, the scholarship was developed to recognize Topher Bill’s contributions to the University. In 1972, Bill began his career as an assistant psychology professor at UMW. He eventually moved up within the department, and became department chair by 1987.
Bill taught many of the psychology department’s statistics courses, which are a major component of the psychology major at UMW. He died on Dec 2, 2001, and the scholarship was developed in his name soon after.
Scholarships are awarded to rising junior and senior psychology majors. These students are rewarded for excellence in statistics, research and service within the psychology depart ment.
Each year, UMW students, staff and faculty donate the auctioned items.
The biggest donation this year was a number of gift certificates to a New England bed and breakfast. The B&B, located in New Hampshire, is owned and run by an alumnus of the University.
Other items auctioned off this year include dinners with different faculty members, artwork, a round of 18 holes at a golfing range and many baked goods.
The psychology department student representatives also donated a free night of babysitting to the auction.
Psychology Department Chair Debra Cowart Steckler, the psychology department chair, who helped organize the fundraising event, commented on this year’s returning auctioneer, psychology professor Steve Hampton.
“He has a wonderful sense of humor, as almost any student in his Human Sexuality course, or any of
his other courses, will attest to,” Steckler said.
The auction drew a large crowd of both students and faculty, kept entertained by Hampton’s witty banter.
“Topher Bill was my mentor and friend and I am happy to do this even though I am neither a seasoned auctioneer nor an entertainer,” Hampton said.
Freshman Brittany Butler, a potential psychology major, also enjoyed the event.
“The auction was hilarious and a lot of fun,” Butler said. “I definitely wanted to go, especially since it might help me by the time I’m an upperclassman.”
By SARAH FINNEY