Kevin and Austin Vaughn leave their homes in Philadelphia every Tuesday and Thursday morning and head to Mississippi State University-Meridian. The father and son are at the campus both days from 9 am until 9 pm and share two classes together, lunch, and even some study time.
Kevin Vaughn, a 41-year-old father of four and pastor of New Harmony Baptist Church in Philadelphia, transferred to MSU-Meridian in the fall of 2010, and was one of the first 65 recipients of the Riley Next Step Scholarship initiated by the Riley Foundation and other generous benefactors. He will earn his B.B.A. degree with a concentration in marketing this coming spring, and plans to earn a master’s degree in theology from New Orleans Baptist Seminary, while at the same time, earn a M.B.A. from MSU-Meridian.
“Thanks to The Riley Foundation and Mississippi Power, the Riley Next Step Scholarship will pay for my undergraduate degree so I can use the money I had saved for my education and pay for my graduate schooling at both seminary and MSU-Meridian,” said Vaughn.
“After graduating from Philadelphia High School in 1988, I took classes at several area community colleges but I really didn’t apply myself and ended up dropping out. When I decided I wanted to enroll at East Central Community College in 2009, I really worked at it. I was much more focused this time around and I did well,” he added.
Vaughn’s son, Austin, is a 20-year-old transfer student from East Mississippi Community College who started at MSU-Meridian this fall. He also received the Riley Next Step Scholarship and is pursuing a B.B.A. degree with a concentration in accounting.
“I feel so blessed that I received the Riley Next Step Scholarship, as it honors a commitment and success in academics,” said Austin. “And I am thankful to attend Mississippi State University-Meridian without incurring any tuition or fees. I’m also very fortunate that my store manager at Goody’s in Philadelphia, Ms. Roberta, has been very supportive and has worked my hours at the store around my school schedule.”
While father and son enjoy their time together driving back and forth to campus, eating lunch, and studying, they also enjoy competing against each other in the classes they share.
“We are both competitive, noted Kevin, and I think our friendly competition pushes me to try harder. So far Austin has scored higher on two of our tests, and while I don’t really have a desire to beat him, if I can just stay with him I’d be proud.”
“Attending school with my father makes the experience more interesting,” added Austin. “Because he attended the university one year ahead of me, I knew what to expect from the professors before I started this fall, and because of his contacts, I met some people I probably would never have met. It is a joy to go to school with him.”
Austin, along with 44 other Riley Scholars, will be honored at a scholarship reception slated for October 11. Since its inception in the fall of 2010, The Riley Next Step Scholarship has been awarded to 125 students.
The Riley Next Step Scholarship program is designed to recognize outstanding transfer students from East Central Community College, East Mississippi Community College, Jones County Junior College and Meridian Community College. Riley Scholars will receive full tuition at Mississippi State University-Meridian for two years.
The deadline for anyone interested in applying for the scholarship for spring 2012 semester is November 15, 2011. For more information visit us at www.meridian.msstate.edu
Austin Vaughn, (l) and his father Kevin Vaughn(r) take some time to study under the new pergola recently completed at MSU-Meridian.
Last Updated: 9/20/11