Stark Foundation Recognizes 50th Anniversary with $50,000 Scholarship for LSC-O

For fifty years the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation has generously invested in both the city of Orange and the quality of life for its residents. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stark Foundation and in recognition of the semi-centennial milestone, the Board of Directors of the Stark Foundation has established a new scholarship fund for Lamar State College-Orange students. This contribution is yet another way the Foundation is continuing its mission of encouraging, promoting and assisting education and the quality of life in Southeast Texas.

Beginning in the fall, students who enroll at LSC-O upon graduating from high school, as well as non-traditional students, will be encouraged and able to apply for these scholarships. The $50,000 gift from the Stark Foundation will be equally divided into two separate “sub-funds” that will each target a different group of students. All students who meet the criteria listed below, including those who have returned to college for a new career or to learn new job skills, as well as students who are employed and maintain employment while concurrently enrolled and actively attending LSC-O, will be considered.

Jack Smith, chairman of the Stark Foundation Board, says that the Starks were strong supporters of higher education, and in their lifetimes, made substantial contributions to both of their alma maters.

“Mrs. Stark was a graduate of Texas Women’s University and Mr. Stark graduated from the University of Texas,” said Smith. “The Foundation has given to establish the Nelda C. Stark School of Nursing at TWU and the Lutcher Stark Center for the History of Sport and Physical Culture at the School of Education at the University of Texas. Now we have an opportunity to support our local school, and we hope that this scholarship program will be the start of a continuing relationship.”

The two “sub-funds” will each distribute $25,000 to students. The first “sub-fund” is the “Nelda Stark Scholarship Fund,” and is focused on students majoring in Allied Health and similar medical, health, nursing or science-related fields of study. The second “sub-fund” is the “Lutcher Stark Scholarship Fund,” focusing on students majoring in all areas of fields of study other than Allied Health, with an emphasis on students focused in Industrial Arts and similar business or economics-related studies.

Both scholarships will be awarded at the beginning of the fall semester in August 2011 and will continue through August 2012. Students pursuing an associate’s degree, who meet the qualifications, may be eligible to receive the scholarship assistance for an aggregate maximum period of two years or four semesters. The Stark Scholarship Program wants to ensure as many students as possible can supplement their resources with the funds for tuition, fees and other costs, as opposed to being used as a resource for a “full-ride” scholarship for only a few students.

“The increasing cost of tuition and fees threaten to price some students out of the market and effectively deny them the opportunity to follow their dreams,” said Shahan. “Existing federal and state financial aid programs provide assistance to many of our students, but a significant portion of our enrollment does not qualify for this help.”

Shahan says the students who do not qualify for the federal and state financial aid are typically older-than-average students, working part or full time and struggling as single parents. The Stark Scholarship Program is targeting these “forgotten” students and will help provide them with financial assistance.

“Another plus to the Stark Scholarship Program is the fact that it also targets students interested in health and industrial careers,” said Shahan. “These are our two fastest growing career fields. Additional scholarship aid will help more students qualify for good jobs in our local economy.”

Scholarship recipients will be selected by Lamar’s Scholarship Committee. Eligible candidates for the Stark Scholarship Program must:

  1. Be attending or planning to attend Lamar State College-Orange for the fall 2011 semester;
  2. Submit a completed application for admission;
  3. Be enrolled for at least 12 semester hours in the fall and spring semesters, or six semester hours for a winter or summer term. Students with verifiable full-time employment must be enrolled for at least six semester hours during the fall and spring semesters, and three semester hours for a summer or winter term, and must retain full-time employment throughout the term for which they are enrolled;
  4. Have and maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale), whether from a prior institution or from LSC-O; and
  5. Demonstrate financial need, as well as attempts to seek financial aid, including grants and scholarships, from other sources that may be applicable.

The first step for any students needing financial help is to contact the LSC-O Financial Aid office and fill out the necessary applications. Students who feel they might qualify for one of these scholarships should also ask for a Stark Scholarship Program application and provide the necessary information. For more information on how to obtain financial aid, visit our website at www.lsco.edu or call the Office of Financial Aid at LSC-O at (409) 882-3317.

“The Foundation staff and its Board know that Mr. and Mrs. Stark would have been strongly in favor of supporting Lamar State College-Orange,” said Smith. “We expect to continue in our tradition of supporting education, and Lamar State College-Orange will be one of our primary interests.”

Shahan says the Stark Foundation’s generosity has given the Orange community civic amenities that would be the envy of cities many times its size.

“I think it is very fitting that they chose to commemorate their golden anniversary by investing in a better future for our citizens,” he said. “I feel confident that this program will make a profound difference in the lives of present and future students.”