UNC Charlotte creates scholarship in memory of slain professor

UNC Charlotte creates scholarship in memory of slain professor
Dr. Jeannine Skinner (Photo provided to WBTV)
Dr. Jeannine Skinner (Photo provided to WBTV)
Franklin (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)
Franklin (Source: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The University of North Carolina at Charlotte has set up a scholarship in honor of a professor who was killed in September 2017.

By most standards, Dr. Jeannine Skinner had achieved success. She was an assistant professor of gerontology and psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences at UNC Charlotte. She had the admiration of friends and co-workers, and she was connected to the community through her church and career.

Yet, Dr. Skinner became a victim of a domestic violence homicide inside her apartment in the Ayrsley community of south Charlotte on Sept. 1.

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Donny Lewis Franklin, 45, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the killing of the 35-year-old.

The university created the "Dr. Jeannine S. Skinner Memorial Scholarship" in honor of the slain professor's memory. School officials set up a crowdfunding  page to raise a total of $15,000 towards the scholarship. So far, over $13,000 had been raised.

School officials said Skinner was "passionate about providing opportunities for student research and learning." The scholarship will fund graduate student research and provide funds for conference travel opportunities, officials said.

Skinner used state grant money to create a program from low income, minority seniors who did not have a place to exercise. She found them a place to exercise, in hopes that it would keep them from slipping cognitively.

She was in the process of applying for a national grant to replicate the program in other places around the country.

Skinner mostly taught undergraduate students but also mentored graduate students at UNCC, colleagues said.

Her colleagues described her as the bright light of the psychology department with an infectious laugh and smile.

"She was growing as a teacher and as a scholar and we were happy to have her here," Eric Heggestad said, who is the interim director for the Department of Psychological Science. "Some of the faculty members noted they were just getting to know her, we're going to miss her."

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She was an avid runner that participated in half marathons regularly. She paired her love for running and her love for psychology and gerontology in a grant program.

"Dr.Skinner is dearly missed by faculty, students, and staff within the university community. The positive influence she had on people here, and in the larger Charlotte community, was remarkable," school officials said.

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