Riley Foundation initiates new MSU scholars program

MERIDIAN, Miss.—The Riley Foundation again is increasing support of local Mississippi State University scholarships.

Recently the Lauderdale County-based organization provided funding for a new set of academic awards at the MSU-Meridian campus to begin this fall.  

“We are proud to offer these scholarships for students who have attended one of the community colleges in our area,” said Becky Farley, the foundation’s executive director.

“Our Riley Scholars Program allows talented students to complete a four-year degree at one of the Meridian campuses of Mississippi State University,” she added.

In response to the gift, Jerry Gilbert said, “Mississippi State University greatly appreciates the continued investment of the Riley Foundation, particularly in the lives of our students, who are often first-generation college students in need of scholarships.”

Gilbert is the land-grant institution’s provost and executive vice president.

Specifically, the Riley gift provides 10 two-year scholarships worth $2,500 each per academic year. To be designated Riley Scholars, the students selected must have completed at least two years of study at a community college with a grade-point average of 3.25 or higher (based on a 4.0 scale).

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

DEKALB—Kasi R. McIntosh, daughter of Gregory McIntosh and Katrina Grady. A psychology major, she graduated from Meridian Community College.

MERIDIAN—Shenekia T. Jenkins, an accounting major who graduated from Meridian Community College, and Ashley Judy, a middle school education major who attended Meridian Community College. Judy is the daughter of William E. and Lori W. Judy. Parental information on Jenkins was not available.

NEWTON—Trevor W. Ayllon, a kinesiology major, and Tracie Buckley, a secondary education major, both of whom graduated from East Central Community College. Allyon is the son of Luis C. and Cindy K. Ayllon. Parental information on Buckley was not available.

QUITMAN—Luiza Dos Santos, an accounting major who graduated from Meridian Community College. She is the daughter of Isidro M. Dos Santos and Gina dos Anjos Vieira.

UNION—Erika J. Clark, a middle school education major and the daughter of Eric W. and Stacie Clark and a graduate of East Central Community College; Tiffany G. Dorman, a middle school education major and the daughter of Charles E. and Jennifer L. Dorman and a graduate of East Central Community College; Kelly M. Williamson, an English education major and the daughter of Timothy D. and Nancy Hardy who attended Meridian Community College; and Kristien H. Winstead, a middle school education major and the daughter of Richard and Stephany Winstead who attended East Central Community College.

The Riley Foundation of Meridian works to improve the quality of life for residents of the city and county. Robert B. Deen Jr. chairs the foundation’s board of directors.

MSU-Meridian serves students from 30 counties in East Mississippi and seven in West Alabama. The non-residential campus provides credit and non-credit coursework for both traditional and non-traditional students. With locations on State Highway 19 North and downtown, its three academic divisions include Arts and Sciences, Business and Education.

The Riley Scholars Program gift is part of the university’s ongoing Infinite Impact campaign. For specific information on establishing MSU-Meridian scholarships, contact Josh Thompson, director of special projects, at 601-484-0493 or

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