Shepard scholarship winner and Bishop come to agreement

Fri. May 11, 2012 12:51 PM

Clinton, IA - The Diocese of Davenport and The Eychaner Foundation announce that an agreement has been reached regarding the presentation of the Matthew Shepard Scholarship to Keaton Fuller at Prince of Peace College Preparatory School in Clinton, Iowa.

Under the agreement, Dr. Lee Morrison, Diocesan Superintendent of Schools will read a script prepared by the Eychaner Foundation, which was reviewed and approved by the Most Rev. Martin J. Amos, Bishop of Davenport. Mike Simonson, a prominent architect and member of the scholarship committee, will present an eagle statue to Fuller.

The Eychaner Foundation, which sponsors Iowa's Matthew Shepard Scholarship program, thanked Bishop Amos for graciously working to find a mutually acceptable way to resolve the dispute regarding the presentation of the scholarship.

"From the beginning, Keaton Fuller and his family were committed to a respectful action to insure that all students were treated fairly, without disrupting the graduation ceremony," Rich Eychaner said. "By keeping the protest gracious and being respectful of the prerogatives of the Diocese, we were able to find common ground in a procedure all parties could support. We appreciate Bishop Amos' willingness to find a mutually agreeable resolution."

Bishop Amos congratulated Keaton on his graduation and success in receiving a prestigious scholarship, and the Eychaner Foundation for respecting Catholic teaching regarding speakers in Catholic churches. Regardless of the different views held by Mr. Eychaner and the Diocese on same sex marriage, the work of the Foundation for tolerance and respect for all people is commendable, especially regarding the anti-bullying programs they advocate. The Diocese also supports anti-bullying and anti-discrimination as outlined in its 2007 "Anti-Bullying/ Harassment Policy." "Principles of mutual respect and careful listening exhibited by all parties allowed a solution to emerge," Bishop Amos explained. "We have many things we agree upon, and have also agreed to accept the fact that we also have some things we disagree about. But that shouldn't prevent all of us from celebrating Keaton Fuller's success over 13 years in Catholic schools and our mutual hope for his success in college and beyond."

Keaton Fuller said he was pleased a solution was found, and indicated he was glad the matter was resolved. "My biggest fear was that this matter would overwhelm my classmate's significant accomplishments and the joy we all feel in graduating," he said. "My family is focusing now on graduation and celebrating the end of the school year."