On Thursday, June 4, a memorial was held in Minneapolis for George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25. At the memorial, Minneapolis North Central University President Scott Hagan challenged universities across the country to create a scholarship in honor of Floyd.

On June 5, Missouri State University President Clif Smart accepted the challenge. 

Smart said now is the time to “begin putting action behind our words,” and declared he and his wife Gail Smart would be the first to take action by pledging $5000 as a lead gift to the scholarship.

Smart said the total amount of the scholarship will depend on how much others donate. He shared over email if at least $25,000 is raised, the scholarship will enter perpetuity, meaning it can be provided to all incoming students who meet requirements without a limit. 

Smart said the university will award the first George Floyd Scholarship in spring 2021.

Julie Masterson, dean of the graduate college at MSU, said she supports the creation of the Floyd scholarship. Masterson said the scholarship represents the university’s commitment to take “measures for progressive change” and ensure an inclusive atmosphere at MSU.

On Monday, June 8, Missouri State University Communications announced how to donate to both the David Dorn and George Floyd scholarships. Dorn was retired St. Louis police captain, fatally shot after trying to protect a pawn shop from looters on June 2.

Both are privately funded and are based in the Missouri State University Foundation.

“We are creating these scholarships as a symbol of the university’s commitment to and investment in young black Americans, poised to take leadership of our nation,” Smart said in a University Communications post. “(The scholarships) will also serve as a constant reminder of the work to be done to create a welcoming and inclusive environment at Missouri State.”

To be eligible for the scholarships, students must be a full-time or graduate student demonstrating “satisfactory academic progress.” Students must also be interested and committed to promoting a just and inclusive society, no matter the race, age, sex, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

According to Stephanie Smith, senior director of donor relations and special events, students are able to register for both scholarships starting Nov. 1, 2020 for the 21-22 Academic year.

The application deadline will be March 1, 2021. For help searching other scholarships, MSU has a database set up to find them.

For more information on the scholarships or how to donate, visit University Communications.