Family Creates Scholarship in Memory of UT Dallas-Bound Son

Scott Wuensch

Scott Wuensch

Last August, entering freshman Scott Wuensch from Carrollton, Texas, was enjoying one last summer road trip before starting classes at UT Dallas. 

Scott, his older brother, Grant, and four of their buddies converged on Whidbey Island in Washington state. The experienced Eagle Scout and his friends planned a short hike down the lush and rocky Pass Island.

Scott was excited to get going since the trip included things he enjoyed most: celebrating friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, talking about his faith and about his future at UT Dallas. Scott wore his favorite UT Dallas shirt in the last group photo taken before they ventured off.

The hike to the beach was uneventful; but on the way back up, Scott stepped out onto a thick branch of a Madrona tree to enjoy the beautiful view and to get a better look at the beach. Seconds later, the branch broke, and Scott fell to the rocks 50 feet below. His brother and a friend got to Scott as soon as they could to administer CPR and attempt other lifesaving actions, but he was already gone.

Though Scott did not get the chance to attend UT Dallas as a student, he had already joined the UT Dallas community. His relationship with the University began when he was a sophomore in high school, when his talents flourished during a robotic arts summer camp led by Dr. Nicholas Gans, assistant professor of electrical engineering.

Scott went on to volunteer at camps for younger kids at UT Dallas and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

Contribute to Scholarship

The Wuensch family set up a scholarship in Scott Wuensch’s name to benefit future students in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. Make a contribution to the scholarship, or to learn more, please contact Anne Beard at 972-883-5488 or [email protected]

“Scott really was outstanding,” Gans said. “He was way too advanced for this camp, and rather than be bored or goof off, he spent a lot of time helping the other students along.”

When the time came, Gans encouraged Scott to apply to the University. He was accepted and received an Academic Excellence Scholarship. Gans was looking forward to having Scott work with the research team in his Sensing, Robotics, Vision, Control and Estimation Lab. He had watched Scott master advanced robotics as a high schooler and said he expected no limit to his accomplishments in college.

Scott also had a special connection with the University through his video editing work for ilumi Solutions, an LED lighting company founded by UT Dallas alumni Corey Egan MBA'10 and Swapnil Bora MBA'11. The alumni of the Naveen Jindal School of Management appeared on ABC’s "Shark Tank" in 2014, and Mark Cuban decided to invest in their business.

Scott’s brief history with the University and his dream to be a Comet have led his parents, Michael and Sandra Wuensch, to create a scholarship in their son’s memory to benefit students in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science. They invite others to contribute to the fund in support of future students who attend the school that was part of their son’s plan.

In addition to the memorial scholarship being set up by the family to begin in fall 2017, the Jonsson School will award a one-time $2,500 scholarship for fall 2016.

Scott Wuensch and his siblings

Scott (left) posed for a photo with his sister, Jessie, and older brother, Grant, at cotillion.  

His parents smile when they talk about how busy they imagine Scott would have been as a freshman. They describe the pace he’d kept in high school. He was in cotillion, led a CrossFit team and took music composition and piano classes at Southern Methodist University. He also worked as robotics curriculum lead developer at iCode, a company that specializes in K-12 programs in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.

A natural leader, Scott was an active student in a national home-school network. In his down time, he rocked a swing dance contest at prom with his sister and was a member of a robotics team that won top honors year after year.

“Everything came easy to him — he was brilliant and talented in both right-brain and left-brain activities,” said Michael Wuensch. “He was our go-to guy on everything, from IT issues, to video production, to fixing the dishwasher and composing and playing music for his family and his church.”

Scott’s social, philanthropic and academic interests led to many friendships. More than 750 people joined his parents and siblings, Grant, Jessie and Eli, at the memorial service.

Scott’s dad said that he hopes his son’s passing will be an important reminder for people.

“I never thought that my son would die so young,” he said. “But death is inevitable and it is an unwelcome and horrible surprise. So my advice is that if there is unresolved conflict in your life with a loved one or a dear friend, fix it. If you need to seek forgiveness, seek it. If you need to give forgiveness, give it. Don’t wait until tomorrow.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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