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UT Austin and Texas A&M alumni groups in Victoria team up with Johnson Foundation to establish endowed scholarship fund

Alumni associations in the Victoria area for Texas AandM University and The University of Texas at Austin met together Friday (Nov. 17) to announce a cooperative scholarship program that will financially assist students from The Victoria College in transferring to one of those two universities.

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AUSTIN, Texas—Alumni associations in the Victoria area for Texas AandM University and The University of Texas at Austin met together Friday (Nov. 17) to announce a cooperative scholarship program that will financially assist students from The Victoria College in transferring to one of those two universities.

Initial funding of $250,000 toward the Victoria College Transfer Student Endowed Scholarship was provided by the M.G. and Lillie Johnson Foundation. Selection of scholarship recipients will be based upon financial need and scholastic achievement, including both academics and leadership.

Dr. Larry R. Faulkner, president of UT Austin, and representatives of Texas AandM University at College Station, including Porter Gardner, executive director for the AandM Association of Former Students, attended the luncheon at the First Victoria National Bank, where the scholarships were announced. Robert Halepeska, executive vice president for the M.G. and Lillie Johnson Foundation, and Dist. 30 State Rep. Geanie W. Morrison, were among the special guests.

Dr. Jimmy Goodson, president of The Victoria College, welcomed the establishment of the scholarship endowment and noted it was an excellent model for Texas AandM and UT Austin alumni groups in other communities to follow.

Faulkner commented, “Always traditional friendly rivals, this is not the first cooperative effort by these two groups. In recent years they have established a tradition of meeting together for dinner and to socialize the Monday night before each UT Austin vs. Texas AandM football game.”

He noted that during a prior visit he made to the Victoria Texas Exes chapter, a commitment was made by members of that alumni group to work toward establishing this kind of a scholarship.

“When I was informed this had indeed become a reality, I personally wanted to return to Victoria to celebrate the announcement and express our gratitude for the commitment it represents to the young people of Victoria,” Faulkner said.

Melba Coleman, president of the Victoria Texas Exes, said, “The idea of the fund and its establishment was a collaborative effort by both clubs and clearly indicated the synergies created when two groups, known more for their autonomy and differences than their joint teamwork, work together for a common goal.”

David McMahon, president of the Victoria County AandM Club, said the lack of financial means to pay expenses often is the only obstacle preventing some students attending The Victoria College from transferring to either UT Austin or Texas AandM universities.

“The scholarship was developed with those students in mind,” McMahon said.

Both club presidents praised the trustees of the M.G. and Lillie Johnson Foundation for recognizing the importance of higher education and for providing funds making he endowment scholarship fund possible. A committee comprised of three representatives from each alumni group and one from the foundation will be responsible for the application process and selection of the scholarship recipients. The initial endowment goal was $250,000, with the long-term goal set at $1 million.

For additional information regarding the scholarship fund, contact Mark Zafereo at (361) 575-6343 or John Zacek at (361) 572-6506.