Stewart Beeson Legacy:
Students in Perpetuity
Beeson had no children of her own, but she had a genuine interest
in the future of young people. Over the years, she and her husband,
Dwight, underscored this interest by helping numerous students pay
Now, the college
education of thousands of future Alabama students will be assured
through a $10 million bequest from Mrs. Beeson to establish a scholarship
program at Samford University. Another $1 million bequest will endow
scholarships in Samford's Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing. Mrs.
Beeson died Jan. 8.
to be the largest scholarship gift in Alabama history-will provide
income to be used annually in perpetuity to assist outstanding Alabama
high school graduates at Samford. It is modeled after a nationally
known program at the University of North Carolina.
must qualify for the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Exceptional Scholars
Program, following a process of nomination and selection by a citizens
committee. The gift is to Samford, which has responsibility for
administering the program in accordance with Mrs. Beeson's wishes.
wanted to inspire students to high achievement," said Samford
President Thomas E. Corts."And she hoped to keep top Alabama
students here for higher education and their adult lives."
Exceptional Scholars program represents a tremendous legacy from
an individual who placed a high priority on the value of Christian
higher education throughout her adult life," said Dr. Corts.
envisioned a program at Samford modeled along the lines of the John
Motley Morehead Scholarships at the University of North Carolina,
said Corts. Established by the family of a former governor of North
Carolina, Morehead scholarships are highly competitive and involve
nomination by high schools, an interview process and selection by
In the new
Samford program, between 30 and 50 students per year will be studying
as Beeson Exceptional Scholars, by present standards, Corts noted.
The hope is that the program could be ready for implementation by
January of 2002, according to Richard J. Brockman, attorney for
the Lucille Beeson estate.
had a special interest in the Samford nursing school because of
her longtime friendship with Mrs. Moffett, the legendary nurse educator
for whom the school was named. Mrs. Beeson provided funds for the
building of Samford's Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center for the Healing
Arts, the nursing school home, in 1988.
and her family members-husband Dwight, brother-in-law Ralph and
sister-in-law Orlean-were all major donors to Samford over the course
of their lives, and at their deaths. Dwight died in 1985, Orlean
in 1986 and Ralph in 1990. The brothers were associated early with
Frank Park Samford, Sr., in Liberty National Life Insurance Company,
which became Torchmark Corporation, now listed on the New York Stock
20 buildings named for members of the Beeson family, as well as
a residence park, the school of education, the school of divinity
and numerous other scholarships, programs and awards.
Beeson was a very modest person," said Corts, "and she
would not appreciate my talking about money in specific ways. So
let me just say that the gifts of this one family to Samford University
exceed $100 million, but the consequence and value of those gifts,
great as they are, is far, far greater. Their interest and generosity
have transformed this institution and made it better than most people
ever thought it could be."
Exceptional Scholars Program represents the latest-and one of the
most far-reaching-examples of this transforming influence.
Beeson, left, chats with her longtime friend, Ida V. Moffett, at
the 1988 dedication of the Dwight and Lucille Beeson Center for
the Healing Arts, home of the Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing.