Alumnus funds scholarships for hometown students
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The gratitude one SFA alumnus feels for the small East Texas high school he attended led him to create scholarships for deserving graduates who otherwise may not have been able to afford college.

During each of the past four years, the Gilbert I. "Buddy" Low Scholarship Program has covered the cost of tuition and fees for three graduates of nearby San Augustine High School. A total of 12 students have been awarded the scholarships, which are named for three retired San Augustine High School teachers.

"When I got to SFA, I did well because of the quality education I received from my teachers in San Augustine," said Low '54, a Beaumont attorney. "I had a job on campus and did pipeline work - hard, hot work - and saved during the summers to pay for my education. I wanted to help kids like me who really couldn't afford to go to college be able to go to SFA and concentrate on their studies."

The annual scholarships are awarded based on financial need, as well as potential for academic success in college. Interested students are screened by the school district and participate in an interview with representatives of the Beaumont Foundation, which administers the scholarships.

"When the recipients are chosen, we don't just give them the money and wish them luck," Low said. "We follow their progress very closely, and if they need a tutor or some other special assistance, we make sure they get it. We also encourage them to keep in contact with each other and support each other however they can."

Roy McLerran, a 2009 Buddy Low scholar, said the personal attention is a key component of the program's success. The music education major said he is grateful for the scholarship, which relieved his family of a heavy financial burden, so he is happy to comply with the program's requirements.

"We report back two times each year on the goals we have set and some of the achievements we have made both personally and academically, and we also have to tell our grade-point average," McLerran said. "Mr. Low and the folks at the Beaumont Foundation are constantly reminding us that if we need anything, we just need to ask. They really do their very best to take care of us and make sure we are successful."

Once the scholars have successfully completed their first academic year at SFA, they are recognized at a spring scholarship luncheon and rewarded with a personal laptop computer.

Scholarships of all kinds are a direct way to invest in the university's students. Scholarships also can be a great team effort from alumni groups, parents clubs, Greek affiliations, hometown organizations or any group wishing to help students with college tuition and fees. Gifts of any size make a difference, and the students enjoy the benefits of their SFA education for the rest of their lives. Learn more about funding a scholarship to SFA. >

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