Marlie Dodson dreamed of someday being a UCF cheerleader and a nurse. She proudly wore the cheerleading uniforms her uncle Robert Agnew ’99 gave her as gifts. They were just a few of the cherished black and gold items in her wardrobe given to her by family members, a proud groups of Knights which also includes her mother Sarah Dodson ’01, aunts Jennifer Agnew ’94, April Agnew ’97 and Rebecca Dodson ’11.

“She was a complete ray of sunshine,” says April. The sunny smile was a constant even during a lifelong battle with brain cancer to which little Marlie succumbed on December 31, 2011. During her treatment, she brought joy to many including the UCF nursing students who cared for her at Arnold Palmer Hospital.

After losing her child, Marlie’s mom reached out to UCF in the hopes of establishing a permanent tribute to the little girl who wanted to be a Knight. Because Marlie’s generous spirit made such an impact on those who cared for her while she was in the hospital, Sarah knew that the UCF College of Nursing would be a perfect home for Marlie’s memory.

The Marlie Kai Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship will support future caregivers. Once fully funded, the scholarship will exist in perpetuity and be open to any nursing student who is committed to making an impact on others’ lives.

Through this very special endowed scholarship, the little girl who worried about others will get to help more people than she could have ever imagined. Marlie’s mother, a teacher in the Polk County School where her daughter was only able to complete the first grade, notes that she learned a lot from her daughter, “more than she did from me.” “Marlie taught us about patience and being there—and love,” she says.

If you would like to support the Marlie Kai Dodson Memorial Endowed Scholarship, please contact Katie Korkosz at the UCF Foundation, 407-823-1600 or