JONESBORO – To honor the memory of their son, the parents of Herman W. Strickland Jr. of Memphis have made a lead gift toward a major scholarship endowment at Arkansas State University. The scholarship will reward outstanding students who share the honoree’s passion for public service.
Dr. Herman and Maxcine Strickland of Jonesboro made a $100,000 gift on behalf of the Strickland family to establish the Herman W. Strickland Jr. Endowed Scholarship. Their son died suddenly in April 2020.
Herman Jr.’s family members include his wife, Rhonda, and their children, Ashlee (husband Marlon) Lucas and Aryn Strickland.
Following close on the heels of the family’s lead gift, Memphian John O’Connor and his wife Glenda doubled the size of the endowment with his gift of stock valued at $100,000. Rick Neal and his wife Mercy, also of Memphis, have pledged an additional $25,000 to the endowment. The O’Connors and Neals are among the Strickland family’s closest friends.
Additional donations to the fund will allow the first award to be made this year, while the principal gifts generate interest income to perpetuate the scholarship annually in memory of its namesake.
“Herman Jr. was a ray of light to the Strickland family. He brought his contagious smile to all family occasions and situations,” remembered his parents, Herman and Maxcine. “During happy celebrations he seemed to increase the intensity, and during trying times he seemed to lift our heads and hearts. He was always there for his younger siblings with his time, talents and treasures. This scholarship is a fitting memorial for his servant heart.”
A 1981 A-State alumnus, Strickland was very involved in the life of the university and the Memphis community. He was on the board of the A-State Alumni Association and was a past president of the Strong-Turner Alumni Chapter. He also had served on the board of the Arkansas State University System Foundation, Inc.
He had begun a new phase of his career, becoming senior vice president and senior lending officer of Pinnacle Financial Partners in Memphis. He had retired as senior vice president and manager of diversity banking from First Tennessee Bank (now First Horizon), where he worked for 34 years.
“With this scholarship, Herman’s passion for community service and giving back will enable us to continue his vision for years to come,” stated his wife, Rhonda Ridley Strickland.
A deacon and choir member of New Olivet Worship Center, Strickland is remembered for his sense of humor and engaging smile. In addition to his business management degree at A-State, he also was a graduate of the University of Memphis.
Strickland was raised in Jonesboro, where his father was a longtime professor in the College of Education and Behavioral Science and dean of University College.
The scholarship will honor Strickland’s many community service endeavors, requiring each student recipient to be active in a service organization.
In making their gift commitment, John and Glenda O’Connor emphasized the traits that inspired creation of the scholarship endowment and their desire to support it.
“I always admired Herman’s superior ability to maximize the benefits of his efforts towards his family, faith, community and work,” O’Connor said. “He was a fine example for all of us.”
Rick and Mercy Neal noted Strickland’s achievements on a number of levels.
“Herman was the wisest man I ever knew,” Neal explained. “I never left a conversation with him without gaining a greater sense of purpose. He had a gift for raising the spirits of everyone around him.”
Fulltime minority students at A-State with a minimum 2.5 GPA and 30 credit hours may apply, regardless of major area of study. Applicants will need to provide a record of their previous involvement and future interest in community service work. Preference will be given to those with financial need.
The Strong-Turner Chapter will select three qualified individuals from the pool of applicants. The director of privately funded scholarships will confer with the Strickland family to make the final selection.
“With the creation of this endowment, Dr. and Mrs. Strickland are still demonstrating a true commitment to education as they did professionally for so many years. With the cost of higher education continuing to rise, their unselfish gift will make higher education possible for so many students from this day forward,” added Dr. Lonnie R. Williams, A-State’s vice chancellor for diversity, inclusion and community engagement.
Chancellor Kelly Damphousse also emphasized the significance of the student award.
“We are honored that Herman and Maxcine would create a scholarship in Herman Junior’s name. Their service to the university and community service is remarkable, and I consider it a privilege to receive a scholarship endowment that will support students who have the Strickland family’s strong faith in the benefits of community involvement.”
Other individuals interested in supporting the Herman W. Strickland Jr. Scholarship Endowment can make additional gifts online through the university website. Additional information about this and other endowment opportunities at A-State is available through the Office of Development, (870) 972-3940 or [email protected].
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Original article source: http://www.astate.edu/news/scholarship-endowment-honors-herman-w-strickland-jr-and-his-life-of-service | Article may or may not reflect the views of KLEK 102.5 FM or The Voice of Arkansas Minority Advocacy Council