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After enjoying a 2012 presentation on The W's master's degree program in educational leadership given by Dr. Sue Jolly-Smith, '75, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, and Dr. E.E."Butch" Caston, former interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, Perry's interest in the new education program grew.
She explained, "I was so delighted to hear of the new graduate program, I decided that maybe a scholarship would give it a boost."
Each year, a portion of the income from the Pat Perry Education Leadership Scholarship endowment fund will be awarded to a student in the graduate educational leadership program who shows evidence of leadership potential, teaching ability and successful classroom experience, and the ability to organize and manage multiple responsibilities all as demonstrated in the admissions interview, references, admission application portfolio and scholarship letter of application.
Perry said, "good leadership is essential for a school to reach academic excellence" and learned this firsthand during her 37-year career with the Columbus Municipal School District. Perry spent 12 years in the classroom as an elementary teacher, 11 years as an elementary principal, and 14 years as a district administrator.
From her hometown of Pascagoula, Perry decided to enroll at The W because her best friend was attending The W and her brother and boyfriend were students at Mississippi State University. She relished her time as a student and recalls the mass history exam given during her freshman year as one memory that stands out in particular. An elementary education major, Perry especially enjoyed the time she spent in the classroom as a student teacher. She knew she had found her calling.
"MUW gave me the confidence to believe that I could do anything with a little hard work and perseverance," Perry said. That confidence gained as a student is what inspires her to give back to The W as a graduate. She feels alumni support of the institution is important "as an indication of your appreciation for providing you with the skills to have a successful career in your chosen field and to ensure others have the same opportunity."
Perry currently is a member of the MUW Foundation Board of Directors and said, "It provides a wonderful opportunity to give back to your university, and I consider it an honor to be asked to serve." In addition to her Foundation Board service, Perry is a member of the MUW Alumni Association and the MUW Alumni Association's Lowndes County Chapter.
Involved with a number of local community organizations, Perry is a supporter of the Columbus Arts Council and the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, and she is a former volunteer with Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle and the Y.M.C.A. camp committee. She currently serves as president of the Home and Garden Club, and she is very active in First United Methodist Church as a member of Church Council, as a United Methodist Women circle leader and as a Sunday School officer.
Perry and her late husband, Harold Perry, have one son, one daughter, four granddaughters, one great grandson, and one great granddaughter. Her daughter, an elementary principal, and three of her granddaughters who are teachers proudly follow her in the education field.
She has made a difference in countless lives throughout her career as an educator and as a community volunteer. The Pat Perry Education Leadership Scholarship will continue this meaningful legacy for generations of MUW's leaders in education to come.
To learn more about establishing a scholarship endowment with the MUW Foundation, please visit www.muwfoundation.org or contact the MUW Office of Development and Alumni at (662) 329-7148.
For more information about MUW's graduate program in educational leadership and other graduate education programs, please visit www.muw.edu/graduates/programs.
1100 College Street Columbus, MS 39701phone: 662.329.4750 or 877.462.8439