The Powell Scholarship Program begins with the freshman year at USM and can be renewed for an additional three years allowing awardees to enhance engagement in key student success initiatives. During the first two years of the program, awardees will focus on foundational skills, self-awareness, and campus connections through participation in the Jump Scholars and Spark Sophomore Success programs. For the second two years, students will shift their attention to emphasize engagement in the major, career mindset, and career readiness through programs with Career Services, the Office of Pathway Experiences, and the Alumni Association.
Students must meet all of the following criteria to be considered for the scholarship award:
Mr. Lamar Powell, one of seven children, was born on January 4, 1918, in Liberty, Mississippi. He was raised on an 80 acre farm that had been passed down from his grandfather who amassed enough land for the farm after being freed from slavery. Attending high school in Glouster, Mississippi, he boarded with others because the walk from home was about 13 miles.
Following high school, he attended Alcorn A&M for one semester before the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He then enlisted in the United States Army where his hard work and dedication produced promotions through the ranks. Mr. Powell served in many arenas of war such as the Pacific Theatre in WWII, Okinawa during the Korean War and an amphibious outfit in Japan while working with the Navy in 1953.
After a long career of service to his country, Mr. Powell wanted to advance the education of Mississippi students with financial need. He became a friend of The University of Southern Mississippi and gave his first gift to help support scholarships for students. His hope was that with higher education, these students would continue to make Mississippi and the United States a great and wonderful place.
Mr. Powell passed away at the age of 97 on December 30, 2015. His legacy lives on through this scholarship and all who benefit from it.