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Alumnus Gives $1.4 Million to Support MU Flagship Scholars Program

Gift will fully endow four scholarships for students in Clark County, Mo.

June 26, 2008

Story Contact:  Emily Smith, (573) 882-3346,

COLUMBIA, Mo. – A college education is priceless; obtaining that education, however, comes with a price that many people struggle to pay. A recent donation of $1.4 million to the University of Missouri Flagship Scholars program will enhance the program's mission to change lives, communities and the state by providing a four-year scholarship worth up to $15,000 to a student in every Missouri county and in the city of St. Louis. Mark McAndrew and his wife, Stephanie, made the gift to improve access to college for students in Clark County.

              “Missouri is falling behind the nation when it comes to the number of college graduates,” said Richard Wallace, MU chancellor emeritus. “Approximately 28 percent of Americans have college degrees. In Missouri, the number of adults with college degrees is 24 percent, and, in half of Missouri counties, fewer than 12 percent of adults are college graduates. In Clark County, just 10 percent of adults are college graduates.”

              The Jack and Ladene McAndrew Flagship Scholarship is named in honor of McAndrew’s parents who did not have the opportunity to go to college. Jack and Ladene raised McAndrew and his six siblings in Kahoka, a northeast Missouri town in Clark County, with a population of just more than 2,000.

              “So many kids who live in a rural environment feel that they don’t have the opportunity to go to college,” McAndrew said. “When I was in Clark County a few years ago, I saw one of my high school classmates. He was very bright, in the top 10 of his class, but he never made it to college. I realized how unfortunate it is that people like him and so many other students never have the chance to go to college. I hope this scholarship program makes it possible for more students to have that chance.”

              Only two of the seven McAndrew children were able to attend college. McAndrew received a bachelor of science in business administration in 1975 from MU and is a member of the MU Alumni Association. He is chairman and chief executive officer of Torchmark, a holding company specializing in life and supplemental health insurance.

              “Scholarship recipients will serve as ambassadors for higher education and for MU, returning to their hometowns to talk about their Mizzou experience,” Wallace said. “Imagine the impact of this program on the future of Clark County, on Missouri and on the nation. Mark and Stephanie McAndrew have caught this vision, and they are stepping forward with a generous expression of support."

              The McAndrews live in McKinney, Texas with their two children, Mary and John. They have four adult children, Emily, Benjamin, Elizabeth and Miranda.

              “Giving to the Flagship Scholars program is a chance to leave a legacy. These scholarships will impact students for the rest of their lives,” Mark McAndrew said. “I was lucky enough to receive a scholarship from MU because of my achievements in high school. I would not be where I am today without my college education; it has been instrumental in allowing me to advance in my career.”

              The Jack and Ladene McAndrew Flagship Scholarship supports the For All We Call Mizzou campaign, which will celebrate raising $1 billion in the spring of 2009. The campaign has raised $941.28 million, 94.13 percent of goal. Private gifts to the campaign enhance MU’s ability to compete nationally and internationally for the best students and faculty and provide broad access for students of all economic backgrounds to Missouri’s flagship University.