‘Gives us a future;’ Family provides update on scholarship to honor late UD graduate

DAYTON — The family of a University of Dayton graduate shared a big update with News Center 7 about their quest to honor his memory.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Legacy of UD graduate who died hours after graduation to live on through scholarship, family says

Ian Brunner died in May, just hours after getting his mechanical engineering diploma.

Jennifer Brunner said her family reached a milestone along their path to honor her son, Ian.

“We are thrilled to announce that we hit the $100,000 mark as of December 2023. That was our initial goal,” Jennifer said.

That $100,000 officially funds a permanent scholarship the Brunners worked with UD to create in Ian’s name.

Every year it will support one engineering student at UD in need of financial assistance.

Now, the Brunners want to extend the scholarship.

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“We’re aiming to earn another $100,000 in the fund that would allow in perpetuity two students to receive this gift in Ian’s name,” Jennifer said.

It will support future Flyers who have dreams like Ian did.

Ian planned to get his master’s degree and start his career.

In a parking lot on campus, just hours after walking at graduation, Ian was working to repair the exhaust on his car before driving home to Pittsburgh to join his family the next day.

Ian’s car fell from the jack and killed him.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Male dead after car falls on top of him at University of Dayton

“The injury to Ian was traumatic and the injury to our hearts was traumatic,” Jennifer said.

After life changed in a moment, Jennifer said working on this scholarship in Ian’s name to help others was, “definitely therapeutic.”

The work aimed to make this scholarship successful has helped the family heal after a tragedy.

“I look forward to seeing the face of the student, of hearing how this opportunity impacts their life,” Jennifer said. “Definitely, helps me look forward to what comes next. It keeps the story going. It gives us a future. Even without Ian, it’s with Ian.”

News Center 7 previously reported that Ian was an organ donor, and Jennifer told us how many people he helped.

Ian donated his organs to people across six states, Jennifer said.

>>PHOTOS: Male dead after car falls on top of him at University of Dayton

UD officials have previously told News Center 7 that they will award the first Ian Brunner Memorial Scholarship this fall for the 2024-25 school year.

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