Contact: Lisa Sollie
MERIDIAN, Miss.—A 35-year-old former petty officer second class in the U.S. Coast Guard is this year’s recipient of the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Physician Assistant Studies Scholarship at Mississippi State University-Meridian.
Merwin “Win” Moore of Hattiesburg served seven years in the Coast Guard before he began the MSU-Meridian Physician Assistant Studies program in January. He continues to serve as a reservist.
“The G.V. ‘Sonny’ Montgomery Foundation is proud to support the PA Studies program at Mississippi State by providing $12,500 to Win over the two-and-a-half years of the program,” said Brad Crawford, president and executive director.
The foundation awarded the first scholarship last year to Andrianna Fuentealba of Gulf Breeze, Florida, who successfully completed the didactic phase of the program and will now transition to the clinical phase.
Crawford noted the foundation’s plans to “expand the scholarship to three students over the next three years are still on track with the addition of Moore. 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 the scholarship is given to PA students who are veterans or immediate dependents of veterans, or students with an interest in serving veterans after completing the Scholarship applicants must 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.
“As a non-traditional student this scholarship, which will help reduce my school debt, is truly invaluable and I can’t thank the foundation enough for selecting me. As a former active-duty Coast Guardsman, I was impressed with the excellent care I had always received from the military physician assistants that treated me,” said Moore, “so when it came time to reenlist, I chose to pursue another service career—medicine. I knew becoming a PA would allow me to provide that same professionalism and care to the people of my home state of Mississippi. And I can’t think of a greater honor than to uphold Sonny Montgomery’s legacy by continuing my military service as a reserve medical officer upon graduation, as well as working full time at the VA hospital in Biloxi.”
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 Montgomery 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 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 fields, 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 Bob Bailey, president emeritus; 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 Steverson; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
MSU-Meridian primarily serves east central Mississippi and west Alabama. Learn more at meridian.msstate.edu.