Contact: Jessica S. Riddlesperger
Assistant Executive Director
[email protected]

For Immediate Release


AUSTIN, TEXAS, MARCH 28, 2019 – The Order of the Golden Rule (OGR) Foundation is proud to announce the recipients of the 2019 Awards of Excellence Gold, Silver, & Bronze Scholarships. The scholarships help students who are about to graduate from mortuary school and enter the funeral profession. The OGR Foundation awards three scholarships this year to mortuary students based on strong academic performance, community involvement, and the strength of their essays which exemplify a commitment to serving grieving families with compassion, fairness, and dignity.

The 2019 Bronze Award of Excellence recipient is Alexander Mock of Worsham College of Mortuary Science in Wheeling, IL. Alex would like to one day own a funeral home, which has an inclusive approach to working with families. “I want to create a culture where accepting all people’s religious views, personal ideas, and wishes is second nature, where families can come in and see how open, transparent and caring we are,” said Alex. He is being awarded a $1,000 scholarship to help complete his studies.

The recipient of the 2019 Silver Award of Excellence is James Norris of Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in Pittsburgh, PA, who is interested in helping families find healing through innovation. “I plan on exceeding the expectations of my families by providing them with the most personalized, adaptive services I can. I know first-hand how personalization can facilitate the grieving process because of my own loss … and I hope to innovate how funerals are conducted,” said Mr. Norris. He will receive a $2,000 scholarship to help complete his studies.

The recipient of the 2019 Gold Award of Excellence is Jessica Keller, also a student at Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. She believes as a funeral director, she’ll have the opportunity to go beyond simply offering families services. “I want to provide a meaningful experience (for grieving families) and provide them with support as they experience death and loss. I want to dedicate my life to helping families begin the path toward healing,” said Ms. Keller. She will receive a $3,500 scholarship to help complete her studies.

Scholarships will be awarded at OGR’s Annual Conference & Solution Center in Williamsburg, VA on Friday, April 26. “These students embody values and principles on which OGR is based. We are happy to help mortuary students realize their goals, and I am sure they will make a wonderful addition to the field of funeral service,” said Paul Hummel, OGR Foundation Chair.

The mission of OGR’s charitable foundation is to fund, perform and/or support activities on behalf of the International Order of the Golden Rule (OGR). Its nine-member Board of Directors is responsible for identifying projects that advance the standards of funeral service or contribute to the compassionate care of individuals in need. Learn more at www.ogr.org/charitable-foundation.

About OGR
Founded in 1928, OGR is affiliated with independent funeral homes throughout North America and overseas that share common goals of exemplary service, uncompromising care and compassion to families in their time of need. For more information, visit www.ogr.org.

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