The University of Arkansas — Fort Smith Alumni Association awarded three $1,000 scholarships through the Alumni Legacy Scholarship Endowment this year. Thanks to a growing endowment, the UAFS Foundation was able to make the awards to students related to previous graduates of the university from any era.
Luke Cravey, Courtney Oliver, and Charles Shue received the scholarships of $500 per semester. Students continuing at the university next year can apply for the scholarship again.
“We want to show how much we value our alumni, what they did here, and what they have done for the community since they graduated,” UAFS Alumni Director Rick Goins said. “Helping their family members get the same great education is the goal of this scholarship.”
The biggest annual fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship is June’s Roarin’ on the River Low Country Shrimp Boil, an extravaganza of Cajun cooking, outdoor bean bag rivalry, and long-term friendship and networking. This year’s event raised $20,000, Goins said.
“We are proud of the money we raised and proud we were able to award three scholarships this year,” Goins said. “But we had 57 legacy applications and only three scholarships. I’d like to see the number of awards come closer to the number of applications.”
The winners of this year’s scholarships are:
Luke Cravey, a Southside High School graduate, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Although he qualified for the legacy scholarship through his mother, Colleen Cravey (Millard), who earned a technical certificate as a paramedic in ’96 and a nursing degree in ’06, he noted that his grandmother, uncle, aunt, and stepbrother also are alumni. Many of them received financial aid that ranged from the GI Bill to Pell Grants to private scholarships. Cravey volunteered at the Fort Smith YoungLife Club, Christ the King Church, Trinity Junior High School, and the Boys and Girls Club. In high school, he was a member of the National Honor Society and the Future Business Leaders of America.
Courtney Oliver is a non-traditional student and a single parent, pursuing an associate degree in radiology. She qualified for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship through her sister, Jennifer Dean Work, ’17. She has another sister, Deanna Dean, who also is a UAFS student. For the last two years, she worked as a career advisor for WAEDA (the Western Arkansas Employment Development Agency). She believes helping others find careers helped her find the ambition to return to school and fulfill a promise she made to her mother to get a degree; if things go well, she may pursue a bachelor’s degree. Oliver is active in her church through outreach programs, which included helping at the Children’s Emergency Shelter.
Charles Shue says he has been fascinated by computers since he got his first game system in kindergarten and aims to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science. He has a collection of computers, including one built for gaming and other high-performance tasks that he built himself. Both of his parents are alumni: Charles Daniel Shue, Jr., attended Westark Community College in the 1970s, and his mother, Rita McCafferty Shue, received an associate degree in 1993. Shue, who was homeschooled and took classes for concurrent credit at UAFS, has been active in BEST Robotics competitions, plays the piano, was a competitive swimmer, and now enjoys running.
To learn more about the Alumni Legacy Scholarship endowment, please contact the Alumni Association at (479) 788-7920.