Scholarships and Youth
American Freemasonry has always had a particular interest in education, and it is thus no surprise to find wide support given to students, usually in the form of scholarships. Masonic scholarships range from funds offered by thousands of Lodges to local students, to large programs run on a national basis.
Noteworthy philanthropies in this category include the Scottish Rite Leon M. Abbott Scholarships for undergraduate college students to pursue their particular fields of study. Shepherd Scholarships to support students in the areas of service to country and humanity, George Washington University grants for government, business, or international affairs, and graduate fellowships for doctorates in education administration. Also, there are the Eastern Star Training Awards for Religious Leadership, the Illinois Scottish Rite Nursing scholarships. and the Knights Templar Educational Foundation, providing low-cost education loans.
Further evidence of Masons’ interest in American youth is seen in their myriad of other activities supporting American youth. These include the National Masonic Foundation for the Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Among Children and support by the entire Family of Masonry for the International Order of DeMolay for Boys, the International order of Job’s Daughters, and the International Order of Rainbow for Girls.
Research In Schizophrenia
Well before the federal government took a major interest in finding the answers to the riddle of schizophrenia, Scottish Rite Masons took their first steps toward a solution to this debilitating condition. In the more than half a century that has elapsed, this program has funded grants to doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and scientists who continue to investigate promising leads which hopefully will reveal the basic caused of schizophrenia, one of the most prevalent and serious forms of mental illness.
Starting from a grant of $15,000 in 1934, millions of dollars have now been channeled into support of schizophrenia research investigation. Some funds go also to provide dissertation research fellowships to promising graduate students in the hopes of rousing the interest of these future research leaders in mental illness problems. Further, work supported on the neuroanatomy, biochemistry, and genetics of schizophrenia indirectly accelerates the progress of research on disorders as diverse as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and opiate addiction.
No hospitals, clinics, nor institutional facilities have been built or operated by the Scottish Rite schizophrenia program. Rather, grants are made directly to investigators who work in leading university and hospital laboratories in the United States and abroad. As one of the Supreme Council of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction’s former leaders, Dr. Richard A. Kern, once said, “money used for services, no matter how urgent the need for those services, once spent, is gone, but money wisely spent for research produces benefits that work for all people for all time.”
When will a cure for schizophrenia be found? No one knows. It may not come with a spectacular discovery in the laboratory; more likely, the pieces will go together, one by one, like those of a giant puzzle.
The United States of America is a country of fraternities: eighty per cent of those successful in business, science, and the professions are fraternity men and women. Examining the philosophies, principles, and teachings of their fraternal organizations shows clearly that they were inspired by Freemasonry.
The Honorable Fred Schwengel, President United States National Capitol Historical Society
Scottish Rite Clinics, 32° Masonic Learning Centers for Children, and Programs For Childhood Language Disorders
In the early 1950’s in Colorado, Scottish Rite Masons initiated a program to help children with speech and language disorders. The success of the program in Colorado led to the establishment to date of 150 clinics, centers, and programs supported by the Northern and Southern Supreme Councils of the Scottish Rite throughout the United States. Staffed by Speech-language pathologists and other trained personnel, Scottish Rite Clinics and Centers provide diagnosis and treatment of childhood speech and language disorders and associated learning disabilities. Some auxiliary services are provided by Scottish Rite Masons and their wives.
The value of the program is readily apparent. Thousands of America’s youngsters have been helped significantly. With the good work of dedicated clinicians and parents, these clinics, centers, and programs have achieved successes that could only be imagined a few years ago. Children who might have remained educationally handicapped for a lifetime can now talk, read, and lead useful lives.
As a rule, these Scottish Rite facilities accept preschool children who have difficulty speaking or understanding the spoken word or school age youngsters who have difficulty learning to read. These children are often slow in developing a vocabulary or are difficult to understand, using incomplete or incorrect sentences. They may have difficulties with attention, memory, or word retrieval and be slow in processing auditory information. All services are available regardless of race, creed, Masonic relationship, of the family’s ability to pay.
The influence of this nationwide program goes far beyond the walls of Scottish Rite facilities. In many instances, it is not unusual for the staff of the clinic or center to go into the community and visit schools or other institutions. For example, the Dallas Scottish Rite Hospital’s Child Development has prepared a series of instructional videotapes available to distant areas. In addition, a Scottish Rite clinic or center can function in the training of young people interested in the field of speech pathology.
Helping children with speech and language disorders is a particular mission of Scottish Rite Freemasons and one of their many contributions to their communities. There is a contribution in human terms in solving these problems for the well-being and happiness of children and their parents. There is also a significant contribution to the economic well-being of our country in providing the means for these children to become productive adults able to contribute to their own lives and to society.
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum of Our National Heritage
Located on a spacious 22 acre site not far from the famed battleground in Lexington, Massachusetts, the Museum of Our National Heritage is the American Revolutionary War Bicentennial project of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. Opened on April 20, 1975, this Masonically inspired institution attracts 90,000 visitors each year and perpetuates two of the basic principles of Masonic education in the United States, love of country and devotion to its ideals. The Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.
Five galleries present six to nine exhibits a year on a variety of American history topics ranging from heroes and leaders like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere to significant events such as the American Revolution, World War II, and the Korean War. Also, the museum’s social, cultural, and economic themes include farm life, immigration, American crafts and furniture, and industrial development. The museum has accumulated a large collection of American objects decorated with Masonic symbols; this collection is used to present special exhibits on the history of Freemasonry in the United States. The museum has published three important catalogues on its Masonic exhibitions.
The 400 seat auditorium is used to display educational programs for young people and adults. Films, concerts, plays, lectures, musical programs, and craft demonstrations are scheduled on a regular basis. The museum’s education department develops special guided tours and programs for school children.
The Van Gordon – Williams Library is an ideal facility for casual readers as well as serious scholars. The Library’s holdings include a basic American history collection and one of the largest worldwide collections of books on Freemasonry. The library also houses the collections and archives of The Supreme Council , 33°, of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.
A renovation in 1996 converted an unused exterior courtyard into a functional conference center for lectures, seminars, and other social events.
Together the museum and library form one of four major philanthropies of Scottish Rite Masons in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. Their Abbott Scholarships, schizophrenia programs, and Children’s Learning Centers are noted elsewhere on this Web Site.
Designed to foster a sense of appreciation for the United States, especially at a time when the history of our country may not be taught as vigorously as in the past, the Museum of Our National Heritage is helping children and others rediscover their national heritage.