LAWTON, OK (KSWO) – The first night of Cameron University's French Film Festival was kicked off with a student receiving a special award.
Gbemisola Dina was the recipient of the Marco's Fund award, a fund created to provide students with money and a support network to better achieve their dreams.
The fund was created in honor of Marco Baillargeon, who was killed in a car crash back in 1996. He overcame incredible hardships working to achieve his dreams – and pushed everyone around him to pursue their passions.
This is the first time the award was presented at Cameron, making it a special night not only for Dina, but also Marco's mother, professor of French and Spanish Marie-Ginette Baillargeon.
“My son was not born in in the United States -- he's first generation American, and he worked very hard to get where he was, and he had a big heart,” Baillargeon said, “And so for me, the big heart, it lives on by helping someone else, and for me as a mother, it's the best."
Marco’s Fund CFO Tara Pirnia said that while she was studying medicine, Marco pushed her to follow her passion – and after enjoying a career in the entertainment industry, she was inspired to create the award in his honor.
“Anything to help you get to that dream, which sometimes is really daunting,” she said. “For me, going into the entertainment business was scary, But I had help, people helped me along the way, and this is our way of paying it forward in his name.”
Gbemisola Dina, a senior Accounting major, said she hopes to become a CPA after graduating,.