Rotary awards $128,000 to 122 high school students
Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010 9:05 pm
For 29 years, Union City Rotary Club has been offering students from this area a generous door to opportunity through their widely-recognized scholarship program.
Businesses and individuals from Obion County donated a little more than $100,000 to make the annual scholarship drive possible in 2010. An additional sum of $28,000-plus came from interest earned on endowments given over the years by many generous contributors, so that 122 students with Obion County roots and degrees from the three county high schools — Union City, Obion County Central in Troy and South Fulton — will be able to pursue higher education goals.
In addition, $140,000 was available from the Verhine endowment for the benefit of another 84 Union City High School graduates, in keeping with the terms of the donor’s wishes that all proceeds benefit residents of the city.
Scholarship recipients from the regular scholarship program were honored Friday at the noon meeting of the club at Union City First Baptist Church’s family life center. Verhine recipients have been notified of their selection and their names will be announced at a later date.
The Messenger will feature photos of the recipients and donors in future editions.
Since 1982, when the program was founded, 2,498 awards have been made for a total of $2,893,135 from regular Rotary scholarships and $962,000 from Verhine funds. The grand total of scholastic assistance now stands at $3,855,135.
In 1982 when the late Gus White — a Rotary Club charter member and past district governor — died, a trust fund of $10,000 was set up for a scholarship in his memory. Then another Rotarian, the late Hardy Graham, started a trust fund for scholarships with a $1,000 donation. In 1983 the former Old & Third National Bank, now Commercial Bank, was entrusted with funds that had been left in a will for scholarships. The trust officer, John Pylant, asked if the bank could join forces with the Rotary Club to make the processing of applicants easier. This marked the official birth of the Union City Rotary Club Scholarship Program.
Today Union City Rotary Foundation is registered as a tax exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The scholarship program is divided into three categories. The first is the traditional Rotary Scholarship that was began in 1982 and is available to graduating seniors from the three schools in the county for post-secondary education at qualified colleges, universities and technical schools. The second category is for upper classmen in qualified colleges, universities and technical schools who are residents of Obion County. Both of these are privately funded by donations and endowments from business and individuals from Obion County. Third is the Verhine Scholarship fund, endowed with $3,200,000 from the F. Fern Verhine Trust, which is available only to upper classmen in qualified colleges, universities and technical schools who are graduates of Union City High School.
Scholarships from the Union City Rotary Club are awarded primarily on the basis of financial need; however, there are a very limited number of scholarships based on scholastic achievement and/or study in a particular field. The scholarship committee always considers financial need first and the students are ranked according to this need; then, for high school seniors, the committee must give consideration to the student’s interview. The third consideration focuses on any special requirements attached to the donor’s scholarship.
The Rotary Scholarship Committee is chaired by Roger Williams and includes members Steve Vaughn, Richard Graham, Gary Houston, Bob Regen, Ron Green, Clint Joiner, Barry Keathley, Al Creswell, Dave Schlager and Kurt Baggett. Many other Rotarians give of their time to help make this program the huge success that it is.
Any individual or company wishing to establish a scholarship through the Union City Rotary Club Foundation is welcome to participate and may get additional details by e-mailing their request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are certainly thankful to all these donors for their interest in giving back to the community because without them there would be no scholarship program,” Williams said.
Rotary Club International was founded in 1905, with the first club in Chicago, and has since grown worldwide to include clubs in 167 countries with 1.2 million members. Members of the Rotary Club are a diverse group of professional leaders working to address various community and international service needs and to promote peace and understanding throughout the world. The Union City Rotary Club was chartered Sept. 2, 1936, and now has about 140 members.
Published in The Messenger 5.17.10