The John Patrick Dooley Open Minds Scholarship

About the Scholarship

The John Patrick Dooley Open Minds Scholarship will enable residents of the Richmond City Justice Center enrolled in college courses to continue their education at Virginia Commonwealth University upon their release. This $2,000 scholarship will cover all tuition, fees, and books for one three-credit course.


John Patrick Dooley (March 24, 1930 – August 7, 2014), an alumnus of Virginia Commonwealth University (MPA, 1987), served the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia in leadership positions for over thirty years. He was a faithful man, a giving man, an honest man, and a good man; the father of john David Dooley, also an alumnus of Virginia Commonwealth University (M.Ed., 1997) who, for thirty six and a half years also served the Commonwealth of Virginia, faithfully and generously, as a teacher in the Richmond City Sheriff’s Office. Through gifts from john David Dooley and James Coleman, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, Open Minds is pleased to offer this scholarship opportunity.

Application Requirements

Applicants must have their G.E.D and be currently enrolled in college classes taught by VCU-Open Minds core faculty (Professors Coogan, Waybright, and Canfield, Wolfgang) or the VUU-Inside Out course in Criminal Justice (Professor Molloy). Applicants must be in good standing in these courses, with all course requirements fulfilled and with an exemplary record of behavior and achievement at RCJC. Applicants may use the scholarship to take any courses at VCU that they are eligible to take. They must take their course within a year after their release from RCJC. Applicants with a strong desire for higher education but who do not have their G.E.D or who will not be able to take courses at VCU during the 2015/2016, academic year should also apply explaining their circumstances, goals, and needs. Their applications will be wait-listed.

Application Process

The application deadline will be announced each fall semester. Applications will be collected by Dr. Ray Tademy. To apply, write a letter addressed to the scholarship selection committee: Professors Coogan, Waybright, Canfield, Molloy, Wolfgang, and Tademy. The letter should highlight your academic achievements in the college classes at the Richmond City Justice Center. What have you accomplished intellectually, creatively, and ethically both as an individual and as a part of the community? What more do you want to learn? Successful applicants should demonstrate what they have learned at RCJC in their college classes and what they hope to learn at VCU. The more concrete the plans the better (for example, the names of courses under consideration or areas of study). Applicants should demonstrate a strong promise of success in the classroom and also show how higher education will fit into their life plans after incarceration, including issues such as employment and recovery. Awards will be announced at a ceremony presided over by the honorable Sheriff C.T. Woody, Jr. All applicants are responsible for providing up-to-date contact information (while incarcerated and upon release) in order to claim their scholarships.