Daughter Honors Her Mother with Scholarship
This week, Alamo Colleges Foundation received a $20,000 gift from the Odelia B. McCarley Charitable Trust to establish the Odelia B. McCarley Nursing Endowed Scholarship.
The gift came as a result of the 2013 Chancellor’s Luncheon, held last week at St. Philip’s College. Martha Hixon, daughter and only child of Odelia B. and Jodie McCarley, and trustee, explained that her mother’s trust specifies funds be donated for nursing education at UTMB (UT Medical Branch, Galveston), but as she was sitting at the luncheon learning about what the Alamo Colleges does for our community, and being in the building that trains nursing and allied health professionals, she came up with the idea to still honor her mother’s wishes but by giving money locally. In fact, she plans to grow the endowment to $100,000 within the next three years.
“With this scholarship, I want to keep my mother’s name alive, continue her spirit of giving back, and make a significant impact on students’ lives,” said Hixon. “My mother had no money, but she was ambitious and she was smart, and passionate about nursing. It’s because of scholarships that she was able to get an education.”
As is the practice with endowments, the funds that established The Odelia B. McCarley Nursing Endowed Scholarship have been invested by Alamo Colleges Foundation, Inc. Students may apply for the scholarship starting in January 2015. To qualify, students must attend one of the Alamo Colleges as a full-time student (minimum 12 hours or 9 hours for Nursing when enrolled in a clinical class); be working toward a degree in Nursing; have or maintain a cumulative 3.0 grade point average (on a 4.0 GPA scale); and complete the Alamo Colleges Common Scholarship application.
“Scholarships are truly special gifts because they touch and change for the better the lives of students,” said Alamo Colleges Executive Director Jim Eskin. “Endowed scholarships are even more precious since they touch the lives of deserving students year-after-year in perpetuity.”
In 1924, Odelia Brown graduated from Port Arthur High School at age 16. Almost immediately, the University of Texas School of Nursing at John Sealy in Galveston, Texas, accepted her on scholarship. In early 1942, at the start of WWII, she moved to Austin to work at Brackenridge Hospital, and transferred her studies to the University of Texas.
She later moved to San Antonio, attended Incarnate Word College and graduated in 1944 with her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing education. That summer, she began work on a Master’s degree at Colombia University, but to help with the war effort, she returned to San Antonio in the fall to teach cadet courses at the Robert B. Green Hospital. The next year, she accepted the Director of Nursing position in Lubbock, Texas, where she remained until her marriage in 1946 to Jodie McCarley, owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company in San Antonio. Next, Mrs. McCarley worked with the Texas State Nurses Association. She remained there for several years, but then left to join her husband in his growing business, named Texas Beverage Packers, where she stayed until it sold in 1997.
“Those whose lives were touched by Odelia will attest that she was an accomplished nurse, teacher and business woman of great inner strength and determination, couched within a spirit of great kindness and generosity,” Hixon said, fondly remembering her mother.
The donor and scholarship fund will be recognized at the December 17, 2013, Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees meeting, to be held in the Killen Service Center, 201 W. Sheridan.
With the vision to award a scholarship to every Alamo Colleges student who applies and is eligible, the tax-exempt 501 (c)(3) non-profit Alamo Colleges Foundation is reshaping futures. By working to increase donation dollars, our mission is to strengthen the Alamo Colleges’ capacity to empower for success the diverse communities served by each of the five Colleges.