Posted by Jim Fitzgerald
The Rotary club scholarship program, using funds transferred from the Student Loan Fund in 1946 and in 1948, awarded its first scholarship in 1949 to Miss Olga Miller. 
The money to fund the scholarship program came first from earnings on investments (Bonds & Stocks) augmented by a $5.00 increase in dues, plus whatever additional funds could be raised. 
One of the favorite means of raising funds was the “birthday” contribution of one dollar, made by the member upon reaching his birthday.  Memorial gifts were made at the passing of a member or loved one.  Another was the brown-bag scheme where a member chose to have a simple lunch instead of full lunch and the difference was added to the Scholarship fund.  It was hoped at the time that they could give four scholarships eventually, but it was several years before that goal was reached. 
Students had to apply for the scholarship. A “secret” committee of three selected the best applicant, if there were other monies or assistance available, the scholarship amount would be reduced
(Note:  that policy was changed in 1959, so that other assistance was not deducted from the scholarship).
Since the scholarship was the only college scholarship awarded to a Marshall High School graduate in 1949, Miss Miller received the full amount.  At the time, it covered the full cost of a year’s expenses at the college ($450).  The following account  was recorded May 6, 1949, on page one of “The Marshall News Messenger”:
“Miss Olga Miller is the first recipient of the Marshall Rotary club scholarship award.  Announcement of the award was made Thursday at the club's weekly noonday luncheon. She was presented by president Charles Fry who congratulated her upon her high school record and wished her much luck and happiness. Miss Miller responded expressing gratitude and humility and receiving the award, it is a cash grant to a Marshall high school graduate amounting to $450 this year, “I will never let you down”, she said, “I will do everything I can to make you proud that you selected me.  The scholarship award is to be given by Rotary each year using its former loan fund for this purpose. Selection was made by an unnamed committee on the basis of applications. Seven applications were received this year. Miss Miller's ambition is to get a musical education and she is to enter Centenary college next September. She already has received an invitation to become a member of the college choir.”
Over the years, the fund prospered, and investments became the major source of income. Over 160 scholarships have been given to deserving students. 
One of the most famous students to receive the Rotary club scholarship in 1952 was journalist Bill Moyers.  While Bill was by far the most notable scholarship recipient, the others may well have been as successful or more so in their own field.  The selection of students is based on needs as well as potential academic or professional achievement.
It is with great pride that Rotarians now honor these students to which they have provided a bit of encouragement and assistance thruough this program.  Many stories soon to be featured, will come from these young people, when we “Celebrate A Century of Changing Lives In Marshall—and Beyond”, August 24, 2019.