A $25,000 gift from former Mississippi Gov. Ronnie Musgrove and wife Melody Musgrove has established a new endowment at the University of Mississippi to award scholarships to select junior and senior education majors.
The Musgrove Educator Scholarship Endowment will offer tuition assistance to education students identified by leaders in the UM School of Education – Mississippi's largest producer of teachers and educational leaders – as demonstrating both academic excellence and financial need.
"Melody and I have enjoyed a lifelong commitment to improving education in Mississippi and throughout the nation," Ronnie Musgrove said. "We have always believed that a strong education empowers people to access opportunities, contribute to our economy and attain some part of the American dream."
An alumnus of the Ole Miss schools of Business Administration and Law, the Tocowa native served as Mississippi's 61st governor from 2000 to 2004 and helped pass multiple pieces of legislation supporting public education throughout his political career. In 2001, he signed a bill authorizing the largest pay raise ever for the state's public school teachers. While serving as lieutenant governor from 1996 to 2000, he helped pass the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, a funding formula for public K-12 schools designed to ensure that all children in the state receive adequate educational opportunities.
He previously served as a visiting distinguished lecturer in political science at UM and is an attorney at Copeland, Cook, Taylor and Bush in Ridgeland.
The child of public school teachers, Melody Musgrove is a former teacher, school administrator, assistant superintendent and state special education director. She serves as the director of the Office of Special Education for the U.S. Department of Education.
"The Ole Miss School of Education has made a commitment to building the next generation of teachers, professionals who can change the lives of thousands of children across our state, nation and world," she said. "We are very proud to be a part of fulfilling that commitment."
Junior and senior education majors must be full-time students and have at least a 3.25 GPA to qualify for the Musgrove scholarship. Applicants will be asked to provide transcripts, ACT scores and a letter of recommendation. The one-year scholarship may be renewed for a second year.
"We're honored to have generous support from esteemed Mississippians like Gov. and Dr. Musgrove," said David Rock, dean of education. "Supporting passionate education students with scholarships like this one can make a huge difference, not only for our students but in the thousands of children they will impact. We want to thank them for being friends of education."
Those interested in learning more about providing private support for the UM School of Education can contact John Festervand, development officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 662-915-1757. Gifts can be made to the University of Mississippi Foundation online at www.umfoundation.com/makeagift.
Andrew Mark Abernathy