Miss. -- Surrounded
by state representatives and senators, along with House Speaker
Billy McCoy, Mississippi State Auditor Phil Bryant announced today
the creation of The Elmer E. and Susie B. McCoy Education Scholarship
Fund at The University of Southern Mississippi.
scholarship will continue the McCoys' legacy in education and will
allow other Mississippians to pursue their dream of a degree in
the field of education," said Bryant, a Southern Miss alumnus.
known as Mississippi Normal College and later as State Teachers
College, The University of Southern Mississippi was the state's
first state-supported teacher training school. The school's stated
purpose was to "qualify teachers for the public schools of
Mississippi." Shelby Thames, president of Southern Miss, said:
"Still today, we are proud of our heritage and our strong education
programs as Southern Miss currently educates more teachers than
any other university in Mississippi."
classes at Mississippi State Teachers College, Mr. and Mrs. McCoy
met under a large oak tree, which stood outside College Hall, one
of the five original buildings on the university campus.
Mr. McCoy always
knew he wanted to be a teacher. He began teaching in Prentiss County
in the 1920's before earning his degree. He decided to attend college
in 1930 where he met Ms. Susie Bell Beasley, who was also to become
a teacher. Mr. McCoy's impact on education is now legendary in Mississippi,
not only as a teacher, but also as a member of the Mississippi House
of Representatives, where he served from 1936 to 1952. During the
time Mr. McCoy served in the House, the Legislature met every other
year, which allowed him to teach during the years he wasn't in session.
is true dedication to people he served across Mississippi,"
said Bryant. "As both an educator and legislator, he devoted
his life to teaching and expanding educational opportunities for
rural children across Mississippi."
the day, Thames presented the McCoy family with a picture of the
tree where Mr. and Mrs. McCoy met on June 13, 1930. "We hope
this picture will serve as a catalyst for fond family memories,"
will be awarded to a Mississippi resident who is pursuing a degree
in kindergarten through 12th grade education. State Auditor Bryant
and Harry Walker, Trustmark Bank president and also a Southern Miss
alumnus, will spearhead the fundraising efforts. Donations are tax-deductible
and may be mailed to the USM Foundation at 118 College Drive #10026,
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001.