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Mark Sobel Jr. Memorial Scholarship

Raised toward our $20,000 Goal
112 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on November 06, at 10:00 AM EST
Project Owners

Mark Sobel Jr. Memorial Scholarship

This special Launch UMD campaign has ended. However, if you wish to support the Mark Sobel Jr. Scholarship please click here or visit and search for Mark Sobel.


Why I Created This Campaign

Karina Steigerwald
Karina Steigerwald

My name is Karina Steigerwald and I am a senior at Mamaroneck High School in Westchester County, New York. My mother and father are graduates of the University of Maryland, and I have been to the university many times for football, basketball and lacrosse games. My father was a student manager for the Terps football team in the early 1980s. Earlier this year, my father told me the devastatingly heartbreaking as well as inspiring and uplifting story about his friend Dr. Sobel.

This story of great loss and great hope had a profound impact on me. I am 17 years old, the same age as Mark Jr. when he died. Hearing stories about Mark Jr. from his parents, I have thought many times that had we been 17 at the same time, we would have been friends. As I look forward to attending college, I am saddened that Mark Jr. was never able to experience it.

It is important to me that Mark Sobel Jr.’s memory stays alive through this gift of giving. Please watch the video above. I am sure it will inspire you.

About Mark Sobel Jr.

Mark Sobel Jr.

Mark Sobel Jr. died unexpectedly in 2011 of a heart infection at the age of 17. He was an honor roll student at Middletown High School North in New Jersey where he was involved in the Kiwanis Youth Service Organization Key Club and the Science League and Class Council. He also played football, was an avid body builder and enjoyed the beach. His dream was to attend the University of Maryland and to one day become a doctor, just like his father.

As Mark Jr.’s life neared its end, his parents had to make the agonizing decision whether to donate his organs. As it came to be, Mark Jr.’s mother, Mary Grace, and his father, Mark—who is a former Maryland football player and orthopedic surgeon in New York and New Jersey—had struck up a friendship years earlier with Frank Romano. Mr. Romano was a fellow former Maryland football player who had been suffering from severe kidney issues. The Sobel family chose to donate Mark Jr.’s kidney to Mr. Romano, resulting in a successful, lifesaving gift. In a very real sense, Mark Jr. is still with us.

The Sobels and Frank Romano
(L-R) Mrs. Mary Grace Sobel, Frank Romano (B.S. '75, general studies) and Dr. Mark Sobel (B.S. '82, zoology)

How You Can Help

To honor Mark Jr.’s memory, the Sobel family created the Mark Sobel Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2016 to support undergraduate students at the University of Maryland pursuing careers in medicine. Mark Jr.’s dream was to one day become a doctor. Through this scholarship, others who aspire to the medical profession will come to realize their dream.

With more money, we can give a larger annual scholarship to a very deserving student. The scholarship is awarded annually, in perpetuity, which means it will be around long after you and I are here. The scholarship's annual amount is based on a figure that is approximately 5% of the interest on the principal in the account. This fall, when the first scholarship was awarded, the student received nearly $2,000. With the additional $20,000 we raise during this campaign, the annual student scholarship recipient will receive $3,000.

Make a gift today and join the 100 donors who have already generously supported this scholarship fund! If you would like to make a monthly, quarterly or yearly contribution to the fund, please contact Cheri Meadows ( 

Please share this campaign with your friends and family members via social media and/or email. Thank you for reaching deep into your pockets—the deserving students at the University of Maryland will forever be in your debt!

A special thanks to Jess Atkinson of 3 Penny Films for producing the video for this campaign.

Gifts in support of the University of Maryland are accepted and managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, Inc., an affiliated 501(c)(3) organization authorized by the Board of Regents.  Contributions to the University of Maryland are tax deductible as allowed by law.  Please see your tax advisor for details.                                                                                                                                         

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