G.V. Sonny Montgomery Foundation establishes scholarship for MSU-Meridian’s physician assistant program

Contact:  Lisa Sollie 

MERIDIAN, Miss.—A 23-year-old Mississippi State Physician Assistant Studies student from Florida is the first recipient of the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Physician Assistant Scholarship at MSU-Meridian.white bald man in blue sports coat and white brunette with black sweater

Adriana Fuentealba of Gulf Breeze, Florida, previously a surgical technician in medical research at the Institute of Surgical Research in San Antonio, Texas, began the MSU-Meridian program this year.

“The G.V. 'Sonny' Montgomery Foundation is proud to support the Physician Assistant Studies program at Mississippi State by providing $12,500 to Adriana over the two and a half years of the program,” said Brad Crawford, president, and executive director.

Although Fuentealba is the first scholarship recipient, Crawford noted the foundation plans to “expand the scholarship to three students over the next three years. We see this investment as a win-win for MSU, the Meridian campus and veterans—all done in the spirit of Sonny Montgomery,” he added.

Preference for scholarship recipients is given to students who are veterans or immediate dependents of veterans, or students with an interest in serving veterans post training. Scholarship applicants must also write an essay "How I plan to continue Sonny Montgomery’s legacy by providing medical services to the veteran population," and do a clinical preceptorship in a VA hospital.

“I am extremely thankful and honored to have been selected to receive this scholarship,” Fuentealba said.  “My father was inspired to join the United States Navy and serve the country that provided his parents, immigrants from Chile, the ability to create their own future. I have always had a deep respect for those in the armed forces, and serving those that have served me would be an honor. This scholarship will go a long way to help me achieve my goals.”

The PA Studies program finds its roots in the military profession because Dr. Eugene A. Stead designed a curriculum at Duke University to credential Vietnam Navy Corpsmen for civilian service. The curriculum was based on “fast-track” training for Navy physicians during World War II.

MSU-Meridian’s program is one of 254 accredited PA programs in the U.S. and is the only publicly funded program in Mississippi.

“We are grateful to the G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Foundation for supporting yet another initiative aimed at addressing critical needs in the state and region. Sonny was passionate about this state, education, and our veterans. This scholarship serves all of those,” said Terry Dale Cruse, MSU-Meridian associate vice president and head of the campus.

The Montgomery Foundation, established in 2006, strives to carry his legacy forward as it recognizes civilian and military leaders who have excelled and made significant contributions to excellence in their field, encourages leadership development, education, excellence in scholarship, and supports various military and veteran projects and needs.

In addition to Crawford, the Montgomery Foundation Board of Directors includes Darr Fred Sullivan III, vice president; Alex B. Weddington, treasurer; Ronnie Walton, secretary; James G. "Bo" Maske, past president; and board members Hayes Dent; David M. Kennard; Sharon C. Johnson; Sid Salter; Pam Stevenson; and Kyle Steward.

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 jmccarty@foundation.msstate.edu.

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

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