WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) – In the age of online dating, Megan Dorward met her future husband the old-fashioned way.
“We met through a mutual friend, who is a fellow William & Mary grad,” Dorward said.
Tradition continued to weave its way into Dorward’s relationship with her then-boyfriend, Richard Brahan.
When the D.C.-based couple got engaged, Brahan used a family ring. The couple later married at a family home in Mississippi.
“We wanted to use our wedding as a chance to celebrate what was most important to us, which was finding each other,” she said.
When it came time to register for gifts, however, the couple took stock of what they had, and veered away from convention.
“We just felt so grateful for the opportunities that life had brought us, and so fortunate that we had the means to take advantage of them,” Dorward said. “[We] committed to the idea of using our registry for creating good in the world for someone else.”
Instead of asking for china or linens or kitchenware, Dorward and Brahan thought back to their beginning and what mattered to them most.
They decided to ask their guests for the gift of education.
“We really quickly agreed that we wanted to use our registry for creating a scholarship at William & Mary,” Dorward said. “So often, kids who need that life-changing opportunity find it just out of their grasp, because it comes with a tremendous cost.”
Dorward and Brahan’s guests gave in a big way, funding a scholarship large enough to cover approximately one semester of tuition for an out-of-state student or a full year in-state at the university.
The funds are earmarked for a first-generation college student with financial need.
“So many people gave generously from their hearts,” said Dorward, who plans to continue funding the scholarship along with Brahan. “We really want the scholarship and its recipients to be the symbol, the outcome of our commitment to each other, and the lifelong commitment we’ve made to each other.”
Although Dorward and Brahan do not get to select the scholarship recipient, university officials say the couple will be notified when tuition is awarded.
“I would love to tell them that so many people contributed to it because they believe in them and they believe in the power education can have in a person’s life,” she said. “So many people are rooting for them.”
For couples considering a similar philanthropic registry, Dorward suggests working with an official associated with the cause you select and linking to your fundraiser on your wedding website.
“I think the registry is this tradition that could use some modernization and revamping,” she said. “We felt like this was a really special way to create an opportunity for someone else.”
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