Major Bequest Creates Scholarships for Nontraditional SOU Students

James and Betty Akerill Memorial Scholarship provides full in-state tuition and fees
(Ashland, Ore) The Southern Oregon University Foundation has received more than $1 million for scholarships from the estate of the late Betty and James Akerill. The gift will provide scholarships for nontraditional students. Both Akerills received degrees in education from Southern Oregon College and became teachers.

“The unusual feature of this scholarship is the focus on ‘nontraditional students’,” says SOU President Mary Cullinan. “Five years ago students age 26 and older were one fourth of our student body. This fall one third of our enrollment will be nontraditional students, the highest proportion in SOU’s history. Older students may have tremendous talent and capacity, but they may lack the financial resources to attain a university degree. This gift presents an opportunity for students who pursue higher education later in life.”

James Akerill was a nontraditional student from Grants Pass, Ore. who served in the U.S. Navy in 1945 directly after high school. Using GI Bill benefits, he attended Southern Oregon College, and then taught at Hoover Elementary School in Medford for 35 years.  Betty Akerill was from Klamath Falls and taught at Lincoln and Briscoe Elementary Schools in Ashland.

“This generous gift honors the memory of the Akerills and will impact the lives of many students,” says Sylvia Kelley, VP for Development and Executive Director of the SOU Foundation. “We are so grateful that this gift will support students who may not otherwise be able to obtain a college education.”

The James and Betty Akerill Memorial Scholarship is available beginning fall 2010 to nontraditional students with financial need, based upon competitive applications.
For more information or to apply for the Akerill scholarship, contact Sarah Kassel at (541) 552-6127 or

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