Community Leaders Establish Two New Scholarships

When students at the University of Science and Arts apply for one of the more than 75 scholarships available from the USAO Alumni Association, they will have two new scholarships available for the next academic year.

Chickasha community leaders Harold and Kay Jackson and USAO Alumni Hall of Fame recipient Merenda O'Bar established two scholarships to benefit education majors at the college.

USAO students have until April 30 to apply for scholarships through the Alumni Association for the fall 2009 and spring 2010 trimesters. Scholarships are available in every major field of study. Scholarships require a minimum of a 2.5 GPA and full-time enrollment.

A scholarship application, descriptions and other information are available at Limited funds are available for these competitive scholarships.

"When members of the community and alumni 'give back' to their college, the impact is felt long after the gift is given," said Julie Bohannon, director of Alumni Development at USAO. "Our students are able to get assistance to make their educational dreams come true." The Alumni Association awarded more than $50,000 in scholarships to USAO students in the 2008-09 academic year.

The Harold and Kay Jackson Scholarship was established in 2008 to benefit education majors at USAO. "It is important to give back to the college in the community we call home," Jackson said.

Jackson owns five restaurants in Chickasha, Duncan and Lindsay. He is a graduate of Marlow High School and received degrees from Cameron University, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Central Oklahoma. Jackson taught public school in Lawton and Midwest City and taught special education at Southwestern University.

He served on the Chickasha City Council for two years and as mayor of Chickasha for six years. He serves on the board of directors of the Oklahoma Operator's Self Insurance Fund and as a regent for the Regional University System in Oklahoma.

Kay Boyd Jackson graduated from Marlow High School. She received a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in psychometrics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.

Kay taught school in Yukon, Lawton and Midwest City. She worked as a psychometrist with the Regional Educational Service Center in Elk City and Anadarko.

The Jacksons have been married for 42 years and are the parents of four children.

The Merenda O'Bar Scholarship was established by Jesse and Angelina (Merenda) O'Bar for students enrolled in the early childhood education program at USAO with preference given to students who are members of the Student National Education Association at the college.

Since her appointment in July 1965 -- by then Gov. Henry Bellmon -- to serve as a parent on the Governor’s Committee on Children and Youth, O’Bar has served continuously at the local, state, national and international levels for the last 40 years as an advocate for programs serving young children, their families and communities.

The O'Bars moved to Chickasha in 1964 with their late son Jesse. The senior Jesse served as president of the O'Bar Insurance Company for the next 30 years. Merenda completed her education at the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts (now USAO) in 1967. She was named to the USAO Alumni Hall of Fame in 2005.

She served as project director/associate director at the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Child and Family Development and was appointed director emeritus for the center in 1998. She worked also with Head Start in Chickasha and served as CDA representative for the Council for Early Childhood Professional Recognition, Washington, D.C.

Her numerous awards include Oklahoma “OKIE” Award, Outstanding Italian American Award presented by J.C. Penny’s of Oklahoma and Oklahoma Association on Children Under Six Distinguished Service Award. She was named a delegate to the White House Conference on Children.

The O'Bars have been married for 53 years.

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