MSU-Meridian scholarships awarded through Scotts’ planned gift

Contact:  Lisa Sollie

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Seven Mississippi State University-Meridian students are 2020-21 scholarship recipients through the Jerry and Ruth Scott Foundation. 2020-2021 Jerry and Ruth Scott Trust scholarship recipients

Established by the Scotts in 2016 and managed by Citizens National Bank’s Wealth Management Division in Meridian, the foundation is designed to benefit working adult students completing their degrees at MSU-Meridian who maintain high academic achievement. Over $90,000 in scholarship assistance has been awarded since its inception.

Benefactors Jerry and Ruth Scott made their home in Meridian for more than 30 years and were active community members. Jerry Scott served as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist with Anderson Regional Health System. Ruth Scott, a native of Hinesville, Georgia, attended MSU-Meridian from 1989-1993. In addition to the late couple’s appreciation for education, they also shared a passion for art, music and travel.

“It is an honor to offer scholarships to deserving students on behalf of the Jerry and Ruth Scott Foundation for the fourth consecutive year,” said Teresa Thornhill, chief wealth management officer at Citizens National Bank. “The Scotts’ perpetual gift not only provides financial resources to help working students achieve their educational dreams in the current term, but the endowment will continue to grow and impact an increasing number of students each year.”

The following recipients each are receiving $3,500 for the academic year.

CHUNKY—Christopher "Chris" Mulford, a junior kinesiology major.

LAUDERDALE—Nakyjia Stephens, a junior criminology major.

LAWRENCE—Sara Mazzella, a senior elementary education major.

LOUIN—Sarah Pilgrim, a senior business administration major.

MERIDIAN—Katie Beddingfield, a graduate student in counselor education, and Ashley McLeod, a junior interdisciplinary studies major.

QUITMAN—Dre’Anna Davis, a graduate student in elementary education.

“I am so thankful to be a recipient of the Jerry and Ruth Scott Scholarship,” said McLeod. “It has helped me so much as a working college student and because of their generosity, I am able to work less hours to pay for school and have time to really focus on making good grades and getting the most out of my studies. This kindness from the Scotts encourages me to give my absolute best in all my schoolwork because I know they are invested in the education of young adults who will one day be productive members of our community. Thanks to the Scotts, college kids like myself have the support they need to achieve their goals.”

The priority date for completing the General Scholarship Application for maximum consideration of competitive scholarships is March 1 for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Candidates for the Scott scholarship must have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average from their two most recent semesters of coursework at MSU-Meridian or another institution and must be employed. Students who are recipients one year may be eligible for consideration in any other year, given they maintain selection criteria.

The scholarship description outlines that the planned gift upholds the late couple’s commitment to the betterment of their hometown through continued investments in the education of hard-working students.

For more information about establishing scholarships at MSU-Meridian, contact Jack McCarty, executive director of development for the MSU Foundation, at 662-325-9580 or

MSU-Meridian primarily serves east central Mississippi and west Alabama. Learn more at

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