In December of 2001, the Raimondi family created the first fully endowed scholarship for a female athlete at the University of Nebraska. The scholarship, funded with a $250,000 donation, is named in honor of Richard Raimondi, who died May 4, 2000, from injuries suffered in a 1996 automobile crash.
The Raimondi Scholarship is awarded each spring to a member of the Nebraska softball team. The recipient must exhibit a 3.0 cumulative grade-point average and must demonstrate effective leadership skills, a high degree of integrity and a commitment to excellence in all endeavors.
The first recipient of the award was NU catcher Amber Burgess, a native of Littleton, Colo., and a graduate of Columbine High School. The family presented the award to Burgess before the fourth-ranked Huskers' game against No. 24 Texas A&M. The scholarship presentation followed the Bowlin Stadium dedication ceremony.
KoKo Tacha, Sheena Lawrick, Lizzy Rock, Meghan Mullin (twice), Julie Brechtel (twice), Ashley Guile, Brooke Thomason, Tatum Edwards (twice), MJ Knighten (twice) and Austen Urness have also been awarded the Richard Raimondi Memorial Scholarship since Burgess earned the initial scholarship in 2002.
"Richard was a very dedicated and loving father and husband, and he was a softball fanatic," Dana Raimondi said. "He really valued education and equal opportunity for his daughters, and he felt that softball gave Melanie the opportunity to achieve those things in her life."
Melanie Raimondi was a member of the Nebraska softball pitching staff from 1994 to 1997. She was a four-year letterwinner and a second-team academic All-Big 12 honoree in 1996.
"I've told the Raimondis several times that words can't adequately express my gratitude, and the gratitude of our whole staff," Nebraska Softball Coach Rhonda Revelle said. "The fact that it's the first fully endowed scholarship for women, the fact that they took a tragedy and what was a very heart-rendering loss and turned it into something positive -- it means a lot. They gave a big sum of money to our program, but they gave it out of love."
The Raimondis were the second recipients of the Trailblazer Award, which was created in 2000 in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of Nebraska women's athletics. Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Dr. Barbara Hibner, who was widely recognized for her support of the progress and advancement of womenss athletics at Nebraska and throughout the nation, was honored with the first award in April of 2000.
Richard Raimondi Memorial Scholarship Recipients
2002-03 - Amber Burgess
2003-04 - KoKo Tacha
2004-05 - Sheena Lawrick
2005-06 - Lizzy Rock
2006-07 - Meghan Mullin
2007-08 - Meghan Mullin
2008-09 - Julie Brechtel
2009-10 - Julie Brechtel
2010-11 - Ashley Guile
2011-12 - Brooke Thomason
2012-13 - Tatum Edwards
2013-14 - Tatum Edwards
2014-15 - MJ Knighten
2015-16 - MJ Knighten
2016-17 - Austen Urness