A special graduation gift to support veteran students

New scholarship honors law school graduate Colonel Alice A. Kerr and supports veteran students.
Alice Kerr and Sheryl Borg
Colonel Alice A. Kerr (USA, Ret.) and wife Sheryl S. Borg. Photo courtesy of Sheryl S. Borg. 

A decorated veteran who served for 30 years in the United States Army, Colonel Alice A. Kerr, M.A.L.S. ’97, reached another life milestone in May 2020: graduating from the University of Miami School of Law.

Alice Kerr in uniformIn celebration of this accomplishment, Kerr’s wife, Sheryl S. Borg, B.B.A. ’85, M.S.E.D. ’92, planned a special gift.

As an admission ambassador at the law school, Kerr has often spoken about the difficulties in attracting veterans and other students who have already been in the workforce, as school can mean a significant financial burden. Even for the students who, like her, benefit from the GI Bill, there is a gap between those benefits and the cost of higher education.

It’s that gap that Borg wanted to help bridge when she created the Colonel Alice A. Kerr Veterans Scholarship Fund as a graduation present for her wife. The scholarship will be awarded to either a graduate or undergraduate University of Miami student with financial need who served their country honorably while on active duty in the United States armed forces.

“Only one percent of our nation’s eligible population answers the call to serve in the United States Armed Forces, and those who do answer put their civilian lives on hold to protect and defend the United States,” Borg said. “Alice and I feel very strongly about supporting veterans after their military service ends. 

It was this same desire to advocate for veterans—and a conversation with the then dean of the Miami Law School, Patricia D. White—that led Kerr to pursue her degree at the law school in 2017.

Veterans have long played a significant role in shaping the University of Miami, as servicemembers on the GI Bill filled the classrooms after World War II and again after 9/11.

Kerr knew she was in a unique position to provide assistance to former soldiers—she understands the challenges they face reintegrating to civilian life; the emotional and physical impacts of combat service; and even the unique language used in the military. She also understands that a J.D. could greatly increase her abilities and provide the tools and knowledge she needed to make a significant impact.

In naming the Colonel Alice A. Kerr Veterans Scholarship Fund, Borg hopes to honor her wife’s career and lifelong commitment to service both in the army and as a retired veteran. Kerr spent 30 years in the army, alternating between active duty military and the reserves. “For me, service has always been a calling,” she said, “and that's how I wanted to serve.”

She was deployed to combat during the Gulf War and Iraq War and held various leadership roles. She was also selected—based on her background, level of expertise, and character—to oversee a camp of over 10,000 soldiers in Iraq, a position until then held only by men and higher-ranking officials.

“Her career and everything she’s done are impressive,” Borg said. “And throughout her law school experience, I have reveled in her determination, courage and leadership among her peers. She deserves to be celebrated and honored.”

Both Kerr and Borg previously attended the University of Miami and worked on campus for over 20 years. “We both have long histories here,” Borg explained. “And it speaks to us in a very heartfelt way. My heart is there, my soul is there, it's my home.” 

The Colonel Alice A. Kerr Veterans Scholarship Fund awarded its first scholarship to a veteran student beginning in Fall 2020.

To make a gift to the Colonel Alice A. Kerr Veterans Scholarship Fund, please visit www.miami.edu/give