AWS establishes largest original section-endowed scholarship

September 11, 2007

The American Welding Society (AWS), Miami, and the AWS Foundation have announced the establishment of the largest original section-endowed scholarship in the society's history. The Lou DeFreitas $60,000 scholarship fund, endowed by the Santa Clara Valley Section, enables the AWS Foundation to award $3,000 annually to welding students.

The foundation, which funds students and supports research and educational opportunities in welding and related fields, plans to grant awards from the scholarship to students in the Santa Clara Valley Section. The section is responsible for the awards process.

Louis DeFreitas began his career 60 years ago as a welding student at a Massachusetts vocational high school. During his 30-year tenure at the College of San Mateo, San Mateo, Calif., where he served as a professor and chairman of the welding technology department, he taught more than 3,000 students and graduated more than 350 with bachelor's and engineering degrees. After retiring in 1995, DeFreitas assisted a Silicon Valley welding supply company in launching an arc gas training institute, serving as director of training.

The AWS Foundation has awarded more than $3.4 million to nearly 2,200 students seeking careers in welding and related processes. Scholarships are awarded locally by AWS sections, regionally by AWS districts, and nationally by the AWS Education Scholarship Committee.

In addition to offering scholarships, the foundation raises money for its "Welding for the Strength of America" national capital campaign, which aims to relieve the national shortage of welders. By the end of last year, it had raised $1.6 million of its $10 million goal.

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