Riley Scholars Program supports top MSU-Meridian students

Contact:  Lisa Sollie

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Ten of the best and brightest Mississippi State University-Meridian students are receiving scholarship support from The Riley Foundation Scholars students standing in front of tower at MSU-Meridian

The competitive scholarship program provides two-year awards to eligible students who have completed their first two years of study at a partner two-year college—East Central, East Mississippi, Jones or Meridian community colleges—with a 3.25 or higher GPA (based on a 4.0 scale). An essay and personal statement also are required for application.

“We are grateful for The Riley Foundation’s continued investment in our university. Ultimately, the goal is to keep talented young people here, so they eventually contribute to prospering our community,” said Terry Dale Cruse, associate vice president and head of the MSU-Meridian Campus.

This year’s class of Riley Scholars includes (by hometown):

CARTHAGE—Emma Harkins, a junior accounting major.

COLLINSVILLE—Kayla Horton, a junior psychology major.

DECATUR—Tina Vega, a junior elementary education major.

NEWTON—Jamesa Bias, a junior health care administration major.

MERIDIAN—Abigail Culpepper, Madison Moore, Allie Roberson and Taylor Williams, all junior elementary education majors.

PRESTON—Thermon Johnson, a junior psychology major.

UNION—Rylee Burkes, a junior elementary education major.

Chartered in 1998, The Riley Foundation works to improve quality of life for Meridian and Lauderdale County citizens through charitable grants. Its partnership with MSU-Meridian has led to many advancements, from the development of the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts to the I. Alfred Rosenbaum Building and the Robert B. Deen Jr. Building, all located downtown at MSU-Meridian’s Riley Campus. In addition, the foundation has been a catalyst for the expansion of the university’s health sciences programs on this campus. These programs include the Master of Physician Assistant Studies, Bachelor of Health Care Administration, numerous mental and behavioral health programs, and the state’s first Master of Science in Nursing entry licensure program currently in development.

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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