Robert A. Jalbert was a man of deep Catholic faith and conviction who understood the importance of his roots and believed in the value of a Xavier education. So when Jalbert, father of 1993 graduate Michael Jalbert, was killed aboard United Airlines Flight 175 on Sept. 11, 2001, his family decided it most fitting to establish a scholarship in his name.
The result was the Robert A. Jalbert Scholarship Endowment Fund, which will provide a student with a scholarship valued at more than $11,000 a year. The new annual award assists a graduate of St. Dominic’s High School in Auburn, Maine—Jalbert’s alma mater—in attending Xavier.
“There are so many ways to honor someone’s memory,” says Jalbert’s widow, Cathie. “My kids talked about setting up a foundation to serve people who are sick or who fall through the cracks. But I think they were our ideas. They didn’t reflect who Bob was. I never felt right, so I hesitated for a long time. In the end, it dawned on me that a scholarship for someone from St. Dom’s was the thing to do.”
Cathie made the decision at the end of 2007 and approached Xavier Provost Roger Fortin, her husband’s high school classmate and a long-time family friend, to aid in the process. “Sept. 9 was Bob’s birthday,” Cathie recalls. “That day, he was very content with where our children were in their lives. He was happy with where we were. He was always grateful. I think this would honor his spirit and keep it going.
“Our family’s hope is that we can find someone who has the need of a scholaship and who will grow from a Xavier education the way my son did,” she says.