The Alumni Legacy Scholarship Endowment awarded four $1,000 scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. This is the first year the endowment has been large enough to make four awards.
The Alumni Legacy Scholarship Endowment was established in 2015 to encourage the children, siblings, spouses, and parents of UAFS alumni to attend the university. This year’s awardees are Mary Roberts-Elam, Jillian Cochran, Hannah Deaver, and Hannah Green.
“We believe that alumni who attended UAFS – or Westark College, Westark Community College, Fort Smith Community College, or Fort Smith Junior College – had their lives changed for the better by that experience,” said Alumni Director Rick Goins. “So we ask them to encourage their immediate family members to consider an education here as well.”
The Alumni Association’s annual fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship Endowment is the Roarin’ on the River Low Country Shrimp Boil. In addition to the hearty feast in its name, the shrimp boil is known for fellowship and heated competition to be named bean bag champion of the year. Usually, the event is in June, but it was postponed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s awardees are from a variety of places in the greater Fort Smith region.
Mary Roberts-Elam of Barling is seeking a business administration degree and expects to graduate in December 2021. As a child, Mary watched her father balance a full-time third-shift job and family responsibilities while earning an associate degree in electronics from Westark College. Now he is her model as she raises her 6-year-old daughter, works full time at Experian, and pursues her degree.
Jillian Cochran of Spiro began her college career while she was still in high school, taking classes for concurrent credit in the biomedical program at Kiamichi Technology Center. Now she is ready to work on a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the same college her parents and sister attended. Her ultimate goal is to attend medical school to become a doctor serving in a rural community so she can give back to all the people who helped her with her education.
Hannah Deaver of Fort Smith is following three older siblings – and, she says, leading two younger ones – to study at UAFS. She wants to earn a 4.0 grade point average as a nursing student. The scholarship will allow her to reduce the number of hours she works weekly, giving her more time to study. She said she and her siblings are eager to support the Fort Smith community when their degrees are all completed.
Hannah Green of Magazine is not just a legacy; she is a scholarship legacy. Her mother, Alisa Green, ’19, was awarded the Alumni Legacy Scholarship in her final two years at UAFS. Hannah’s father, Lyndol Green, ’81, was a first-generation college student who paved the way for his family. Hannah was named valedictorian of her high school class. She wants to be a nurse to offer compassion and service to people who are sick or hurt.
“We ask alumni and others to support this endowment because the need continues to exist,” Goins said. “We are so grateful that the generosity of our donors allowed us to give four scholarships this year, but that meant saying no to 30 other students who were qualified. I want to reach a place where we can make this offer to every eligible student.”