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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Nov. 21, 2011

Northwest scholarship memorializes young cancer victim’s spirit

Friends of the late Jake Cavanaugh have established a scholarship at Northwest to benefit students pursuing a dietetics major.

Friends of the late Jake Cavanaugh have established a scholarship at Northwest to benefit students pursuing a dietetics major.

The Jake Cavanaugh Memorial Scholarship has been established at Northwest Missouri State University by friends of the Cavanaugh family and Northwest alumni Jeff and Karen Gould From to honor the young cancer victim’s spirit.

“Jake had the ability to light up the room with his sense of humor, his witty comments, his smile and his ability to always see the good in people,” said Jeff From, a consultant for the Mission Command Battle Lab at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. “Jake lost a courageous fight with cancer, but in his short 22 years, he lived every moment.”

Cavanaugh, who passed away Dec. 23, 2010, was diagnosed with cancer at age 16, but was determined to continue his classes and graduated from Blue Springs High School in 2007. For two years, Cavanaugh attended the University of Missouri, majoring in dietetics. To stay on track academically, he took classes at the University of Missouri-Kansas City while undergoing chemotherapy treatments at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City.

Working with children was enjoyable for Cavanaugh, and he was an integral team member in the daycare at St. John LaLande Catholic Church and also spent time working at Kid’s Country and PrimeTime. This passion remained strong throughout his own treatments, as Cavanaugh spent a lot of time with the young children at Children’s Mercy who were also battling cancer.

“As he spent more and more time in treatment, Jake became interested in nutrition and dietetics,” said Karen From, Northwest’s director of the didactic program in dietetics and instructor of foods and nutrition. “He would have been a wonderful gift to the dietetics community.”

The Jake Cavanaugh Memorial Scholarship will assist Northwest undergraduate dietetics majors and is based on academic achievement and financial need. As Northwest and its Department of Family and Consumer Sciences focus on growing the University’s dietetics program to accommodate the burgeoning interest in this established field, Karen From said scholarships such as this will play an even greater role in the University’s recruiting and retention efforts.

“We honor Jake through the gifts of many, but it was his gift of life that we celebrate,” said Michael Johnson, vice president of university advancement at Northwest. “He brought smiles to many, and his legacy life is lived to the fullest thanks to the support of an education from our great institution.”

Curt and Jane Cavanaugh, Jake Cavanaugh’s parents, are appreciative of the scholarship and the legacy it will provide in their son’s honor.

“No matter what the circumstance, Jake never complained and never lost his sense of humor,” said Jane Cavanaugh. “He impacted many people’s lives in the short time he was with us, and he will truly be missed. In Jake’s words, ‘Peace.’”

For more information about the Jake Cavanaugh Memorial Scholarship or other giving opportunities, contact the Office of University Advancement and the Northwest Foundation at or 660.562.1248.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468