Joan Hughes Rawlings Scholarship

The Joan Hughes Rawlings Scholarship was established by Dr. Virginia Wenger and is to assist an aspiring young student wanting to receive a college education at USAO and needing financial assistance.

“The honor of a scholarship in my name compliments such great pride and respect that I have always held for my four years spent at OCW. More than 60 years ago I marched with the class of 1945 to accept a diploma with meaning and humility. Although a very long time has transpired since that day, my loyalty and interest in this great institution remains deep and committed.”

Joan gives great credit to the most important person in her life – her husband George D. Rawlings – that “enjoyed the pleasure of knowing that he more than provided for my education.” While serving in World War II in the European Theater with a B-17 crew, he was shot down over France and ended up spending more than two years as prisoner of war in Germany. Many of her classmates knew of his experience and followed along with their interest and support for Joan throughout her remaining years in college. “It was a joyful day in early May 1945 when we celebrated victory in Europe and freedom for my husband.”

“Education has and always will be my dream and hope for all young people. I appreciate the confidence and growth provided for me by the outstanding faculty and staff during my years at OCW. Today the university has grown and progressed beyond my highest dreams, but it still offers the very same strengths and academic goals needed by all its future students.

“I am deeply grateful to Virginia Voigt Wenger for her generous and thoughtful gift of this scholarship in my name. Hopefully it will bring financial aid to deserving students who wish to attend USAO for many years to come.”

Although her sons attended other Oklahoma colleges, they take great pride in their mother and still ask about her time at OCW and being named “Miss OCW” – especially since she had been married for two years. “Married students were the exception until World War II encouraged short-term romance and sweethearts anxious for permanent commitments before going off the serve their country.”

“I am very proud of my OCW Alumni Life Membership card that I have carried with me since 1945. It is tattered and faded, but it holds a very special place. It holds all the memories and friendships I experienced those four years. Thank you to my classmates and those who come after us in keeping alive our kinship as graduates of this wonder place we called home for four years.”

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