A Scholarship Based on Character
Many scholarships are based on financial need or academic excellence; the College of Business Merit Scholarship is based on those criteria, plus character - integrity, work ethic and commitment to finish a degree.
Hyler Bracey, his wife, Cass Flagg, and Aubrey Sanford are all alumni and/or former professors at Southern Miss, and are committed to a scholarship based on integrity, willingness to work hard, commitment to finishing a degree, financial need and strong academic performance. Rather than putting their names on the scholarship, they wanted the College of Business Merit Scholarship to give everyone the opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life.
Not only did Bracey and Flagg provide some of the initial funds to endow the scholarship, they have also included a bequest in their wills that will enrich the College of Business Merit Scholarship fund in the future so that more deserving students will be able to receive support.
All three donors know the difference a scholarship can make in the life of a student. "While attending Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, I was married, had a child and was struggling financially to stay in school," Bracey recalled. "With the help of a Lamar professor, I received a scholarship that paid for my tuition and books. If not for that help, I would not have been able to stay in school."
The scholarship, which provides full tuition and a book allowance, was first awarded in the spring semester of 2011 to Andrew Slemaker, a finance major from Columbia, Miss. "This scholarship has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of people," Slemaker said. "I am grateful for the relationships I have been able to form with people like Dr. Bracey. They have dedicated much of their time to me and offered valuable advice that will really help me in my future career."
Bracey and Flagg encourage others to give back. Bracey said: "You can make a difference in students' lives by helping fund scholarships. There will be fine students that will be able to stay in college because of your help."