UNA News

The University of North Alabama has recently received a $300,000 scholarship endowment from the Virginia Bayless O'Connell estate.

The Virginia Bayless O'Connell Honors Endowment will grant scholarships based on financial need to students who are involved in the university honors program.

"UNA's honors program has been growing rapidly," said UNA President Dr. William G. Cale.  "We are indeed fortunate that Virginia O'Connell's generosity will enable the university to assist many of these bright young people in meeting their educational goals."

According to Dr. Vince Brewton, director of the university honors program and associate professor of English, the O'Connell endowment will be used exclusively to create the O'Connell Scholars Program.

"Only outstanding students who express financial need will be considered," Brewton said.  "These students will be recruited from the best students nationally."

Brewton says they expect to begin naming O'Connell scholars within the next year.  

"The Honors Program exists to attract the brightest students regardless of their financial ability to pay for college," Brewton said.  "The generous support of the O'Connell endowment will advance this important mission at UNA."

O'Connell graduated from Florence State Teachers College - now UNA - in 1932 with a Bachelor of Science in Education. She requested in her Last Will and Testament that an endowed scholarship fund be established at her former school for students who have demonstrated the potential for successful careers in higher education and who have demonstrated financial need.

O'Connell's close friend and attorney John W. Green III, of Huntsville, presented the check to UNA.

"Ms. O'Connell's vision for assisting future generations of students is a great inspiration and a lasting tribute to her dedication to learning," Cale said.