Skip to content

Maria Dolores Ronquillo Sand Memorial Scholarship

The purpose of the Maria Dolores Ronquillo Sand scholarship is to honor a woman who was a remarkable wife, mother, and a giving member of her community.  Here is her story as told by her loving family.

The most important thing that happened in the world on March 18, 1932, was that Maria Dolores Ronquillo was born in Tucson, Arizona to Rosalio and Virginia (Bermudez) Ronquillo.  Dolores grew up on the east side of town near the San Xavier mission.  As a young Latina, she worked in the family restaurant, Karichimaka (named as one of Sunset Magazine’s 10 best places to eat).  In 1950, she graduated from Tucson Senior High School, where she played on the women’s varsity basketball team.

 While attending the University of Arizona, Dolores worked at a small animal hospital in Tucson for several years and also assisted in the research of Coccidiomycosis, a soil-borne fungal disease that infects man and animals.  In 1954, she graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.S. in Animal Sciences, one of only two women receiving that degree at the time.

That fall, Dolores left Tucson to attend Kansas State University to work on a graduate degree in Animal Science/Genetics and to apply for admission into the College of Veterinary Medicine.  During that same year, she met Robert Sand, another young veterinary student.  They fell in love and were married on September 5, 1955 at St. John’s Catholic Church in Tucson.

After her wedding, Dolores worked two years as an assistant housemother for about 225 upper-class women in a ladies’ dormitory at KSU.  After the young couple moved to Olympia, her career path changed to a life dedicated to raising her family of 5 children, caring for her husband, and, since 1963, keeping their historic home and assisting on their 65 acre farm on the Littlerock Road south of Tumwater.  She was very involved with her children’s education, the schools they attended, and in their after-school and weekend activities.  She served as a 4-H club leader for several years and was an active member of the Thurston County Cattlewomen’s Association.  She was a parishioner at St. Michael’s Catholic Church and active in her church guild for several years.

As a skilled artist, painter, and craftswoman, Dolores taught tole painting classes.  She loved visiting with friends and strangers at craft shows and while selling corn and pumpkins on the farm.  She raised ornamental pheasants, ducks and peacocks.  She took great pride in her expansive yard and flowering plants and spent hours planting and tending to her beautiful flower gardens and hanging pots.  She and Robert took several trips to Mexico and one to Spain.  She also loved spending time with and caring for her 6 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.

In 1996, Dolores was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  She beat tremendous odds and lived another 10 years with courage, optimism, and a profound enjoyment of her family, relatives, and friends, thanks to her skilled oncologist at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  She and Robert joyfully celebrated their 50th wedding Anniversary on the weekend of September 3, 2005.  Shortly before Christmas, God began calling for Dolores, and surrounded by her family and many angels, He took her away gently and peacefully to her new home in Heaven on February 18, 2006.


  • Applicants must be a graduating senior from Black Hills or Tumwater High School.
  • Applicants must be pursuing a career in the science pathway/field.
  • Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 in core academic classes (english, math, science, social science, and fine and performing arts, foreign language).
  • Applicants must have a demonstrated financial need.
  • Applicants must be involved in extra-curricular activities (sports, clubs, athletics, work, etc.).
  • Applicants must demonstrate their ability to be an asset to their community. 


  1. Applicants must complete a Tumwater Education Foundation Scholarship Application, along with the following information.
  2. In 750-1,000 words answer the following:
    • Describe the science field you plan to enter and why you have chosen that field.
    • Describe how you have demonstrated strong teamwork skills, work ethics, and good leadership skills. 
    • Describe yourself as a non-discriminating person.
    • Share what you have done to promote the happiness of others.
    • Describe your financial need.

Scholarship selection will be made without regard to applicant’s race, color, national origin, religious belief, sex, marital status, age, or physical handicap.