Scholarships leave lasting family legacy

Erica Martin

Raised during the Depression, Margaret Dubuque Scott quit school in the fourth grade to take care of her siblings and clean homes for extra family income. As an adult, she continued to sacrifice for her family, cutting expenses to ensure her son, Ray, could afford a college education.

Now, her legacy will continue, helping other students better afford an education through the Margaret Dubuque Scott Memorial Endowed Scholarship at Florida State University Panama City.

Ray Dubuque and his wife, Sharon, established the scholarship for students with dependents and/or first-generation college students in June 2014. It will be fully vested and awarded for the first time in fall 2018. Margaret Dubuque Scott died in 2007.

“Since my mother worked so hard to make sure I had the opportunity to attend a university and be the first member of our family to receive a degree, I felt providing assistance to other ‘first family members’ and those working while attending college was important,” Ray Dubuque said.

About one-third of FSU Panama City’s 85 endowed scholarships are named in honor of a family member or loved one. Endowed scholarships are privately funded and recognize superior scholarship, leadership and exemplary character among student recipients who have high financial need.

The minimum size gift to establish an endowed scholarship is $25,000, which can be paid over a period of five years. Donors may use either outright or deferred gifts to establish a named endowed fund, which can be in the donor’s name, the name of his/her business or in someone’s honor or memory.

For the McDonald family, a memorial scholarship was the perfect way to honor Martha McDonald, a local real estate agent who died in August 2008.

“Mother never had a college education, but it was really important to her for every generation to get better and that was through a college degree,” her son, Glen McDonald, said.

Glen McDonald and his father, Gerald McDonald, established the McDonald Family Endowed Scholarship in honor of Martha McDonald in 2013.

“She was the one that really believed that we should do something that would last for a long time and would also contribute to people outside our family,” said Glen McDonald, a biochemist who earned his MBA from FSU Panama City in 1999. Gerald McDonald is a former mechanical engineer. The endowment benefits full-time students pursuing a degree in a STEM-related field.

“Our family believes that quality education drives community progress, and we are proud to support this university,” Glen McDonald said.

“If you really look at it, what better way to say thanks to somebody than to pay it forward with something that will impact generations to come,” said Frank Hall, whose family has established two FSU Panama City scholarships to honor his parents.

The Walter B. Hall, Sr. Endowed Memorial Scholarship has been awarded since 2012 to military dependents and spouses pursuing a degree in a business-related field. Walter Hall Sr., who retired from the Air Force in the 1980s then worked in the civil service, died in August 2011.

“FSU Panama City gave my sister and me the opportunity to pursue successful business careers. With the loss of our father, an endowed scholarship was the perfect way to honor his memory and give back to our university in a meaningful way,” said Frank Hall, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business management in 1989. His sister, Lesley Miller, earned her degree in accounting in 1986.

After seeing the impact of their father’s memorial scholarship, the family established the Monique A. Hall Endowed Scholarship in honor of their mother, who was a teacher in France when she met Walter Hall, Sr. The scholarship will be awarded each semester to a full-time education major after it is fully vested in 2020.

Hall said he looks forward to his mother being able to read thank-you letters from recipients of the scholarship in her name.

“I know the dollars that I’m investing, it’s for somebody directly,” Frank Hall said. “We’re being a mentor for somebody and seeing the end results.”

“The best way to improve our economy and our quality of life is through supporting a well-educated workforce,” Dubuque noted. “[Scholarships] help people help themselves.”

When an endowed scholarship is established, the funds are invested and only the income from the investment is used to support its purpose. This preserves the donor’s original gift in perpetuity, guaranteeing he/she will have an impact for generations to come.

The donor also can specify the criteria that will be used to award the scholarship, such as financial need, merit and/or community service. The FSU Panama City director of development works with each donor to prepare guidelines for the administration of each named endowed fund.

Students must apply each semester they wish to be considered. Applicants are considered for all scholarships for which they are eligible and typically must possess a minimum GPA of 2.5 and take at least six credit hours per semester.

To apply, students must complete the FAFSA and the Foundation Scholarship application.

For more information on establishing an endowed scholarship, call FSU Panama City Director of Development Mary Beth Lovingood at 850-770-2108 or email mblovingood@pc.fsu.edu.