DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > DePaul alumnus establishes scholarship in honor of 9/11 hero

DePaul alumnus establishes scholarship in honor of 9/11 hero

American flag
(DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

Twenty years ago, Todd Beamer was aboard United Airlines Flight 93, one of the airplanes hijacked as part of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. An alumnus of DePaul's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, Beamer led a group of passengers and flight attendants who stormed the cockpit to regain control of the aircraft. Because Beamer redirected the flight to a field in Pennsylvania, the compromised plane never reached its intended target, the U.S. Capitol Building. Many believe this act helped prevent additional disaster.

Beamer grew up in the Chicago area. After graduating from Wheaton College, he earned an MBA from DePaul in 1993. He worked as an account manager for Oracle, a computer software company, and left his home in New Jersey on Sept. 11, 2001, for a one-day business trip to California.

In the midst of the hijacking of Flight 93, Beamer tried to reach his wife by Airfone. When the call failed, it was rerouted to a Airfone supervisor, who says Beamer calmly provided critical information about events on the plane and asked her to pray with him.

To honor Beamer on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, fellow DePaul alumnus Nicholas Hahn, III created the Todd M. Beamer Memorial Scholarship.

Hahn recently worked as the deputy director of communications at the U.S. Department of Education and chief speechwriter for Secretary Betsy DeVos. It was during his time working in the office of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2011 that he met Beamer's wife, Lisa, and learned of their shared connection to DePaul.

Hahn created the scholarship with the hope it will inspire DePaul students to learn from history and emulate Beamer's heroic example.

“I was already familiar with Todd's heroism on Sept. 11, 2001, but was previously unaware he too was a Blue Demon," says Hahn, a 2011 graduate of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul. “I established the Todd M. Beamer Memorial Scholarship to raise awareness of Todd's heroism and to highlight DePaul's connection to that slice of history from that tragic day."

The $10,000 scholarship will provide recognition and financial assistance to students enrolled in the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business pursuing a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Applicants must also be in good academic standing and demonstrate financial need.

“The courageous and selfless actions of Todd Beamer and the other passengers aboard Flight 93 certainly prevented further tragedy. I am proud to know he was a member of our DePaul community," says A. Gabriel Esteban, president of DePaul. “Especially on this 20th anniversary of the attacks on our country, I ask you to remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others."

To learn more about or to make a gift to the scholarship, visit gi​​​

Rachel Wojnicki is an editor of Newsline and the internal communications manager in the University Marketing and Communications division.