The most meaningful honor

Law student treasures scholarship named in memory of classmate

Brooke Mosteller has basked in the glamour of being named Miss Mount Pleasant and Miss South Carolina in 2013, but she says a scholarship from the School of Law is among her most treasured honors.

During the annual Awards Day ceremony in April, Mosteller was awarded the inaugural Joe McNulty Memorial Scholarship, established to memorialize a fellow first-year classmate who fought valiantly against throat cancer before it took his life late in 2012.

“It is really one of the most meaningful things I have ever received, purely based on the character traits of Joe himself,” Mosteller said. “Though the cancer had spread throughout his body and Joe was in pain from hardly being able to swallow food, he took our first-year written exam on his hospital bed a week before he died.

“He handled his whole situation without bitterness. It was inspirational and meaningful to all of us at the law school, students and faculty alike.”

Mosteller and McNulty had become close friends their first semester and shared a passion to use legal knowledge in the service of others. They also shared a strong Christian faith. When McNulty’s cancer returned, Mosteller said one of the most meaningful biblical passages he mentioned was from Romans 5:5-7, which speaks to “glory from God for all your sufferings.”

During the spring 2013 semester, Mosteller and classmate Joe Kornegay organized a Relay for Life team in McNulty’s memory, raising more than $1,500 for the American Cancer Society. She said it was the best way to pay tribute to his memory and his belief that any act that helped others was the best possible thing you could do with your own time.

“Another way of expressing that comes from Ephesians 5:16, which is ‘to make the most of the time God has blessed you with,’” she said, adding, “I take that kind of literally.”

Creation of new scholarships like the Joe McNulty Memorial Scholarship — and enhancement of existing scholarships — is a key component of USC’s $1 billion Carolina’s Promise campaign. Such scholarships make it possible for many students to pursue a law degree at USC, and conversely, for USC Law to attract the best and brightest to its program.

“Scholarships are so important in law school because you have the debt of the undergraduate education you just completed,” Mosteller said. “I know scholarships offered were the decision-turner for many students.”