MSU-Meridian recognizes Riley scholars

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Mississippi State University’s Meridian Campus is honoring the inaugural class of Riley Scholars.

The competitive Riley Scholars Program provides 10 two-year scholarships worth $2,500 each per academic year to selected students. Eligible students must have completed at least two years of study at a local community college with a grade-point average of 3.25 or higher (based on a 4.0 scale), and provide an essay and personal statement with their application.

Chartered in 1998, The Riley Foundation works to improve the quality of life for Meridian and Lauderdale county citizens through charitable grants. The partnership with MSU-Meridian has led to the development of the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts and the Robert B. Deen Jr. Building, as well as acquisition of the Kress Building.

Ten scholars were recognized during a recent reception and members of the Riley Foundation’s Board of Directors were in attendance to honor the scholars. Robert B. Deen Jr., president and board chairman and founding member of the Lauderdale County-based organization, as well as former MSU-Meridian co-deans Julia Hodges and Allison Pearson also were present. 

“Mississippi State University greatly appreciates the continued investment of the Riley Foundation into our mission of education and outreach,” said Hodges.

“This scholarship shows how the Riley Foundation is giving back to the community and to our futures through education,” said Shenekia Jenkins, junior accounting major and graduate of Meridian Community College.

The inaugural class of Riley Scholars includes (by hometown):

DEKALB—Kasi R. McIntosh, a senior psychology major and graduate of Meridian Community College.

MERIDIAN—Shenekia T. Jenkins, a junior accounting major and graduate of Meridian Community College; Ashley H. Godwin, a senior elementary education major who attended Meridian Community College.

NEWTON—Trevor W. Ayllon, a senior kinesiology major, and Tracie M. Buckley, a senior secondary education major, both graduates of East Central Community College.

QUITMAN—Luiza D. Dobbins, a senior accounting major and graduate of Meridian Community College.

UNION—Erika J. Clark and Tiffany G. Dorman, both senior middle school education majors and graduates of East Central Community College; Kelly M. Williamson, a senior English education major and graduate of Meridian Community College; Kristien H. Long, senior middle school education major who attended East Central Community College.

MSU-Meridian is a non-residential campus, which serves students in East Mississippi and West Alabama. There are three academic divisions—the Division of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Education at the College Park Campus located on State Highway 19 North, and the Division of Business located on the Riley Campus downtown.

For more information about establishing MSU-Meridian scholarships, contact Josh Thompson, director of development, at 601-484-0493 or

MSU is Mississippi’s flagship research university, available online at,, and


MSU PHOTO ID: Riley Foundation board members met with Riley Scholars during a recent reception. From left, Robert B. Deen Jr., foundation president and chairman of the board; Marty Davidson, vice president and treasurer; Riley Scholar Shenekia Jenkins; Becky Farley, foundation board executive director; and scholars Luiza Dobbins; and Tracie Buckley; foundation board member Christine Riley; scholars Erika Clark; Trevor Ayllon; Tiffany Dorman; Ashley Godwin; and Kristien Long. Not pictured are scholars Kasi McIntosh and Kelly Williamson.

← Back