Westervelt family creates fund for Ocracoke students

Published 12:53 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2024

The Outer Banks Community Foundation has announced the Dr. Frederic B. Jr. and Ernestine H. Westervelt Scholarship Fund, a tribute to the enduring connection of the Westervelt family with the Ocracoke community.

Dr. Westervelt’s career included 30 years at the University of Virginia in the field of nephrology. His role in establishing early dialysis programs and his subsequent commitment to community health exemplify a life devoted to service. After leaving the UVA, he opened his own dialysis clinic, which he led for another 10 years before moving to the Outer Banks.

For over six decades, the Westervelts found solace and joy on the island, making it their permanent home in 2005. Described by his family as a kind and ethical man who chose his words carefully, Fred was deeply appreciative of the remote island that allowed him to rest from the chaos of his regular life.

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After his passing in April 2023, Dr. Westervelt’s wife Ernestine (Ernie) and their children chose to establish the new scholarship fund as a testament to his legacy, fostering education and community support for generations to come. “We wanted to do something that would be worthwhile and would help the community,” Ernie said, “because we loved living there.”

The scholarship, administered by the Outer Banks Community Foundation, will provide renewable support to eligible Ocracoke students pursuing higher education. Through the Dr. Frederic B. Jr. and Ernestine H. Westervelt Scholarship Fund, the family aims to honor Fred’s commitment to learning and his love for Ocracoke.

“The Outer Banks Community Foundation extends its heartfelt gratitude to the Westervelt family for their generous contribution,” said Community Foundation board chair Jean-Louise Dixon. “This important new charitable fund embodies the spirit of philanthropy that strengthens and uplifts the Ocracoke community.”

Parents and students interested in applying for any of the Outer Banks Community Foundation scholarships can access the common application at obcf.org/scholarships/.

Those interested in setting up an endowment fund can visit obcf.org/giving/create-a-fund/ or call the Community Foundation at 252-423-3003. Funds can be created to memorialize loved ones, support a favorite issue or charity, provide scholarships, and more. Anyone can learn about or donate to any existing fund online at obcf.org/donate.