Putting their money where their hearts are

Oct 24, 2010 by

Tyler Junior College scholarships are often the result of passionate community members who want to see students succeed in an area that is meaningful to them.

The new Social Science Department Scholarship of Excellence is the result of perhaps those most dedicated to student success at TJC– the faculty. Faculty from the College’s social sciences department funded this $25,000 endowed scholarship award personally. Every dollar comes from textbook royalties to which faculty members contributed. Key faculty involved in establishing the scholarship endowment included Dr. Gene Kirkpatrick, Dr. Peter Jones, Shannon Cross, David Ligon, Steve Burket and department chair Geoffrey Willbanks.

“We receive monies from our history and government textbooks,” said Willbanks. “The books are the standard books with added materials supplied by various faculty. The money was not ‘earned’ by any one member of the department; it was an effort of several members who contributed study information to be included in the textbook.”

The faculty worked together to establish the criteria for selecting deserving recipients of the Social Science Department Scholarship of Excellence and decided that the scholarship will be awarded to sophomore students who have participated and excelled in TJC’s social science programs.  The first scholarship was given at the recent Honors Day Ceremony for Liberal Arts and Sciences students.

American history professor Jan McCauley is keen on the importance of social science studies. “Listen to the news and you’ll quickly know that we desperately need to understand the world we live in and share with others,” she said. History professor Shannon Cross concurred, “When we understand from where we have come and how we have reached this point, we have a better basis from which to make decisions in the present.”

“We want to acknowledge and reward students who show traits of success,” said Willbanks. “TJC is blessed with a sizeable group of students who have the right motivation and skills and apply themselves in the right manner. They push on in the face of family, job, education and money issues. Our successful students have demonstrated the most important trait: persistence.”

The faculty members also reflect the importance of persistent dedication.

“As professors at the community college level, we have chosen to teach, versus many university faculty who are there to research. We want to reach students,” said Willbanks.

With this scholarship, they are modeling that message in a creative and effective way.  Their dedication and generosity will be seen in the impact they have on future students.


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Fall 2010, News, On Campus

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