Scholarship established to honor ag teacher
High school agriculture teachers often leave lasting impressions on their students. One particular relationship between a student and his teacher has resulted in a nearly $1 million scholarship endowment for agriculture student teachers within Oklahoma State University's Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
Ben Grant, OSU graduate of animal science, recently donated $630,000 to create the William E. Brown Ag Ed Student Teacher Assistance Program, to honor his agriculture teacher. In addition to the initial gift, Grant gave another $200,000, which is available for a 1:1 match with the goal of reaching a $1 million endowment.
"Mr. Grant didn't want his name on it," said Rob Terry, agricultural education, communication and leadership department head. "He wanted to honor Mr. Brown because he said he owed him for his success."
Grant speaks highly of Brown, and is thankful he was encouraged to go on to college and come out a better farmer.
"I took his advice, and it worked out very well," Grant said.
It was that advice that took Grant down a successful business path in the agriculture industry and his relationship with Brown that will ultimately lead to the success of many more students at OSU. There are 35 to 40 students each year who will benefit from this new assistance program.
"The student teachers out in the field right now are the first beneficiaries," said Terry. "This gift allowed us to provide financial support to all of our student teachers. If you want to teach in ag ed, you must meet particular academic standards, as well as other requirements and expectations. We feel like all of our students are deserving."
Student teachers are often strapped for cash during the final semester of their college career. Aside from tuition, these students are often required to relocate to other areas of the state to student teach, making expenses challenging.
"We really try to get them integrated into the community," Terry said. "We want them to understand that agriculture teachers are a part of a school district and community."
Grant is hopeful his gift sparks the interest of others who appreciated their ag teachers and want to give something back. Modeled after the Pickens Legacy Scholarship Match program, Grant will match every dollar given to the endowment to meet the goal of $1 million.
Grant has previously donated money to the animal science department.