UC Rotary marks 30 years of giving local scholarships

UC Rotary marks 30 years of giving local scholarships

Posted: Saturday, March 12, 2011 12:28 am

This year marks the 30th year Union City Rotary Club has awarded scholarships to students from Obion County, and the committee overseeing the effort is ready to begin its work.
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 approximately 140 members.
In 1982 when Gus White, who was a charter member and a past district governor, died, a trust fund of $10,000 was set up for a scholarship in his memory. Then another Rotarian, Hardy Graham, started a trust fund for scholarships with a $1,000 donation.
In 1983 the former Old & Third National Bank, now known as Commercial Bank, found itself in possession of a trust fund that had been left in a will specifically to fund 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 was the beginning 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.
Three scholarship
avenues
The Union City Rotary Club 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 Union City, Obion County Central and South Fulton high schools who are looking forward to post-secondary education at accredited colleges, universities and technical schools.
The second category is for upper-classmen already attending accredited colleges, universities and technical schools who are residents of Obion County.
Both of these categories are privately funded by donations and endowments from business and individuals from Obion County.
Third is the Verhine Scholarship fund, endowed with $3.2 million from the F. Fem Verhine Trust, which is available only to upper-classmen in accredited colleges, universities and technical schools who are graduates of Union City High School.
In 2010, businesses and individuals from Obion County donated $100,000 during the annual scholarship drive, and an additional sum of $28,000 came from interest earned on endowments given over the years by many generous contributors.
“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,” says Rotarian and scholarship committee chairman Roger Williams.
Since 1982 the Union City Rotary Club has helped more than 2,800 students from Obion County and has awarded $3,855,135 in scholarships. In 2011 the Union City Rotary Club will award approximately 200 students a total of $250,000 in scholarships.
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 with scholarship committee members. The third consideration is for any special requirements put in place by the scholarship donor.
How it works
The Rotary Scholarship Committee also includes Steve Vaughn, Richard Graham, Gary Houston, Bob Regen, Ron Green, Clint Joiner, Barry Keathley, Al Creswell and Dave Schlager. Many other Rotarians give of their time to help make this program the huge success it is, Williams says.
Any individual or company wishing to establish a scholarship through the Union City Rotary Club Foundation is welcome to participate and may get further details by e-mailing their request to info@unioncityrotary.org.
Enrollment for Union City Rotary Club scholarships is currently open until April 15. Applications can be obtained from the Union City Rotary Club website at www.unioncityrotary.org. To be eligible for a regular Rotary Scholarship, applicants must be residents of Obion County and must currently be a senior at UCHS, OCCHS or SFHS or an upper classman in an accredited university, college or technical school.
Eligibility for a Rotary Verhine Scholarship is based on the applicant’s having graduated from UCHS and having completed at least a year of post-secondary education at an accredited institution by the time the scholarship money will be awarded.
Applicants are encouraged to print and keep a hard copy of their applications, but this year no hard copies of documents will be accepted by the scholarship committee. All applications must be completed online and all supporting documentation requested must be scanned and attached to the online application electronically. Failure to submit the required documentation will result in that application’s not being considered.
Any questions about the application process should be submitted by e-mail to info@unioncityrotary.org.

Published in The Messenger 3.11.11

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