Natalie McKerjee

Joe Veasey may not be able to build his architectural dreams himself, but through a scholarship in his memory, he is assisting in building the dreams of other Miami University students.

As a former Miami University architectural student, Veasey lost a battle with leukemia in November 2007. But the Joseph P. Veasey Award-which was first distributed even before his passing-will ensure that his memory continues at Miami.

“His often painful battle with leukemia was very hard, but not being able to go back to school at Miami of Ohio was an even greater hardship,” said Veasey’s father, Jack Veasey.

Veasey was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia (a quickly growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow) in August 2006 and immediately began chemotherapy at the Cleveland Clinic.

Veasey had a dream of becoming an architect and attended Miami in hopes of achieving this goal.

Father Mike Ausperk, Veasey’s cousin and a Catholic priest in Cleveland, described Veasey’s Miami experience during his homily Nov. 24 at the St. Margaret March Church in South Euclid.

“(Joe’s favorite things about Miami were) ordering at Bagel and Deli in Oxford-especially his favorite, ‘The Urban Cowboy’-pulling a studio all-nighter or floating around the studio reviewing, critiquing and improving student projects,” Ausperk said. Veasey began receiving his youngest sister’s, Mary Rose Veasey’s, bone marrow in September 2006.

During his struggle he decided to create an award that would acknowledge Miami architectural students and assist them in their studies. He collaborated with Ausperk and the department of architecture and interior design at Miami to create the Joseph P. Veasey Award.

The award’s press release stated that the Joseph P. Veasey Award would be presented annually in Veasey’s memory. Every undergraduate student in the architecture and interior design second-year studios can be considered for the award.

“The award goes to a student of sophomore standing selected for their leadership in the studio and for their contributions to the studio ‘community,'” explained John Weigand, chair of the department of architecture and interior design. “The recipient is selected by the department’s award committee in conjunction with the sophomore studio faculty.”

Weigand added that the award includes a $500 scholarship that is designated for the winner’s architecture supplies at Miami. The committee seeks candidates who embody the characteristics that Veasey possessed.

Miami senior Brett Roeth was the first to receive this award personally from Veasey Dec. 8, 2006.

“I was humbled to receive the Joe Veasey Award, mainly because I was nominated for the award by my classmates,” Roeth said, also expressing his gratitude toward both Veasey and his family.

“I thought it profoundly generous that Joe and his family could give such a gift,” he said. “The scholarship established by Joe demonstrates his ability and willingness to think about the needs of others before the needs of himself.”

Shortly after presenting the award, Veasey experienced eight months remission until Nov. 18, 2007, when he died from complications of the leukemia.

“Donations will hopefully fund this annual award in Joe’s name for a long time and for what Joe wanted to do most-help fellow students in architecture,” Ausperk said.

Donations for the Joseph P. Veasey Award fund can be made out to Miami University and mailed to Fr. Mike Ausperk, 13400 Lorain Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44111.