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The Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship Fund recently created the Doris Fisher Irwin Endowment, which was inspired by the club’s founder and supports students who are part of the George Mason University ADVANCE program.

Irwin, who died in 2009, founded both the Scholarship Fund and the former Great Falls Woman’s Club. In 2019, Irwin’s husband left Great Falls Friends and Neighbors a bequest in her honor.

By creating an endowment with this gift, the club each year going forward will grant at least one stand-alone scholarship in her name.

“Doris was a truly remarkable, passionate and dedicated woman who whole-heartedly believed in supporting students who want to further their academic journeys,” club officials said.

“Doris was a glamorous person,” said Kitty Cox, a friend of Irwin’s. “She had platinum hair, usually pulled back in a bun, and always wore perfect jewelry and makeup. She embodied class. When she walked in the room, you knew Doris was there.”

Irwin fully was committed to causes she cared about, whether in Great Falls, her church community in McLean or among her family.

“She never gave up working hard for what she believed in, despite any challenges along the way,” Cox said. “She never gave up living her life with purpose.”

The George Mason University ADVANCE program provides targeted, personalized support for students transferring from Northern Virginia Community College to Mason to complete their bachelor’s degree.

The ADVANCE program, launched in 2018, now has 198 women over the age of 25 enrolled and officials anticipate that number to increase to almost 500 by fall 2024.

In addition to the Doris Fisher Irwin Endowment Fund, Great Falls Friends and Neighbors Scholarship Fund continues to fund-raise to provide at least six additional scholarships to women over the age of 25, who have demonstrated a financial need as well a record of academic success.

The group welcomes donations at www.gffnsf.org/donate.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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