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Shepherd Family Continues to Leave Lasting Impact

April 17, 2017


In 1994, a $150,000 gift from Augusta Shepherd (BSB ’44 Business Administration) and her late husband, R. Hershel Shepherd, to the Emporia State Foundation established the Shepherd Scholars program. Annual and major gifts from Augusta, son Jim Shepherd, daughter Joyce and Craig French, daughter Judy and David Hawkins, and the family businesses have continued to grow the endowment ever since. Recently, they enhanced the Shepherd Scholars endowment with generous gifts in excess of the original gift amount. 

Since the program began awarding in 1995, over 270 Shepherd Scholars have been selected through a robust and competitive application process led by Emporia State’s Roe R. Cross Professors.

“I believe the Shepherd Scholars program is the most sought after and envied scholarship program the University has,” said Dr. Gary Wyatt, associate provost, director of the Honors College, and professor of sociology, anthropology, crime and delinquency studies. “Receiving it is something that the students really treasure. The Shepherd Scholars program helps students aspire to be the best scholars that they can.”

“Excellence has long been one of ESU’s stated values,” said Jennifer Denton, Emporia State’s associate vice president for advancement. “Thanks to the Shepherd Scholars program, we are able to bring this value to life. We can lift up our best and brightest students to show what academic excellence looks like and inspire others to achieve their potential.  This program is a perfect example of how philanthropy can advance Emporia State.”

Every year, a highlight for the Shepherd family is to meet and learn about the scholars. According to Jim, they always come away impressed.

“It’s been amazing to see the capabilities, the energy, and talents of the Shepherd Scholars we’ve met over the years,” Jim Shepherd said. “Their energy to do their studies and contribute to society and their community. It’s been a pure joy to meet these talented young people, and I hope this helps them on their way.

Emporia State announced the 12 recipients of the 2017-18 Shepherd Scholarships, and celebrated their academic excellence at the annual Shepherd Scholars luncheon and awards ceremony at the Sauder Alumni Center, on April 12.

“To the Shepherds, I would like to say thank you,” said Andy Rentería, one of this year’s Shepherd Scholars. “Their generosity goes beyond a simple monetary donation to several students each year. For many of us, these scholarships function as the linchpins to our education, and without this generosity, we may not even be attending college. They are really changing our individual worlds with their kindness.” 

Also announced at the annual Shepherd Scholars luncheon was the Roe. R. Cross Distinguished Professor Scholarship recipient. The Roe. R. Cross Professors award the special scholarship to the most outstanding student from the group of newly selected Shepherd Scholars each year. This year’s recipient was Andy Rentería.

Below are the 2017-18 Shepherd Scholars, hometowns and academic majors: 

  • Michael Hendricks, Sterling, biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Brittany Kramer, Melvern, nursing
  • Paige Nurnburg, Assaria, mathematics education
  • Jessica Parks, Emporia, political science
  • Andy Rentería, Emporia, chemistry and physics
  • Mariah Rey, Wichita, biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Farhan Sadique, Chennai, India, marketing and management
  • Caite Schoeck, Emporia, biology
  • Sarah Spoon, Neodesha, English and Spanish
  • Garrett VanArsdale, Lebo, music, biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Henry Weiner, Sterling, mathematics education
  • Bailee Wilson, Garnett, biology




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