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MU Alumnus Establishes $15,000 Annual Scholarship for Wright County Students

Gift supports MU Flagship Scholars Program

January 6th, 2010

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

COLUMBIA, Mo. – While paying for college is stressful for most families, funding can be an even greater challenge for first-generation college students. A recent donation to the University of Missouri Flagship Scholars program will help first-generation students in Wright County attend MU with a $15,000 annual scholarship. William and Ann Turner of Springfield donated $315,000 to the Flagship Scholars program, which has a mission to change lives, communities and the state by providing a four-year scholarship to a student in every Missouri county and in the city of St. Louis.

 “When my brother Wallace started taking classes at MU in 1939, the availability of scholarships was rare,” said Bill Turner, MU alumnus. “There are many kids who want to go to college, but they can’t because they lack the resources. Our family decided to fund this scholarship to help make college possible for more kids from our hometown, Mansfield, in Wright County.”

 Bill Turner graduated from MU with a bachelor’s degree in business and public administration in 1956, after serving in the Army. He is the chairman of Great Southern Bank in Springfield, where he has worked for more than 35 years. Ann Turner was the manager at Great Southern Travel until her retirement. Wallace Turner worked with the New York Times and is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. Bill’s second brother, Al Turner, also is an MU alumnus and a retired circuit judge in Wright County. Bill’s daughter, Julie, and her husband, Jason Brown, and Bill’s son, Joseph, and his wife, Traci, also are Mizzou graduates.  

The first Wright County scholarship will be awarded in the fall. Interested applicants can review the application criteria on the following page and submit their resumes to the contact listed. High school students who demonstrate outstanding service and leadership and are the first in their family to attend college receive priority consideration for the program. Recipients also commit to spending a minimum of 20 hours each year promoting education and college attendance in their hometowns.

 “As part of the first generation in my family to earn a college degree, I would not be where I am today without support from my family, mentors and the community,” MU Chancellor Brady Deaton said. “The donations we receive from alumni provide similar opportunities to students across the state through the MU Flagship Scholars Program.”

 The Flagship Scholars Program was established in 2008 as a part of the For All We Call Mizzou Campaign, a $1 billion fundraising effort that ended Dec. 31, 2008. A $300,000 endowment is required to provide a $15,000 four-year scholarship for a student. With this recent gift, scholarships in five counties – Audrain, Caldwell, Clark, Marion and Wright – are funded through the program.

For interested applicants: the program gives priority to candidates who are first-time college or transfer students who are seeking to earn an undergraduate degree from MU who meet the following additional criteria:

 •      Priority to applicants who are first-generation or “first-in-family” college students

 (i.e., neither parent has completed a baccalaureate degree). 

•      Priority to applicants with financial need

•      Demonstrate outstanding community service and leadership

•      Demonstrate academic ability by meeting or exceeding MU’s admission standards

•      U.S. citizen or permanent resident

•      Missouri resident (Note on interpretation–If the individual is considered a Missouri resident for tuition purposes, they will be considered a Missouri resident for this scholarship.)

•      County-eligibility will be determined by the location of the high school from which the applicant graduated (or will graduate) or the county of legal residence.  Applicants must select one of these options and may not apply for more than one county.

 For more information and to apply, contact:

 Ronald Kelley

Director of Development

University of Missouri Flagship Scholars

Phone:  866-889-5234

Fax:  573-884-5144