An Arkansas State University alumnus has committed a significant gift that will provide what could be hundreds of scholarships to the schools’ graduates in the years to come.
Jim Smalley of Fayetteville, who completed his bachelor’s degree in business at ASU in 1976, made his college the beneficiary of one of his retirement savings funds, currently valued at $1.3 million, through his will.
Jessieville High School, in Garland County, and Corning High School, in Clay County, are the schools where seniors will benefit from the availability of scholarships funded by Smalley’s generosity. The scholarships will be given in the name of Smalley’s late son, Beau Smalley, and the donor. Beau was a graduate of Jessieville High, while Jim is a Corning High graduate.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to reflect Beau’s desire to help people,” Smalley said. “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. While many things have been forgotten since Beau left us, this endowment ensures Beau will never be one of the forgotten. This endowment will let people know Beau lived and that is a great gift.”
As a student, Smalley was active in the campus chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. His campus experiences and classroom preparation helped him prepare for a business career, retiring as owner and president of Union Capitol Finance Corp.
“One of the many interests I shared with my son was a deep commitment to the importance of a good education. Through this gift, I want to honor my son’s memory by assisting students at Jessieville and Corning with their education at A-State,” Smalley said. “I also encourage my fellow Arkansas State alumni to consider a planned gift, according to each one’s particular interests and goals.”
Given Smalley’s life expectancy and the current economic outlook, a financial analyst in the Neil Griffin College of Business, Dr. Matthew Hill, has projected the fund will grow to almost $8 million by the year 2040, generating an endowment income sufficient to support approximately 25 scholarships per year.
In addition to naming which schools’ graduates will have first priority for the Beau and Jim Smalley Scholarships, the donor has specified that financial need must be a major consideration when recipients are selected. Incoming students from Jessieville High will get top priority, followed by Corning High graduates, then other incoming Arkansas freshmen.
The recipients must have either a 3.0 grade point average in high school or a score of 24 or higher on the standardized ACT examination to qualify for the award.
Applicants for the memorial scholarship will receive information about Beau Smalley and the qualities he exhibited. As part of their application, they will write a one-page essay about why the scholarship will enable them to carry on Beau’s legacy and how the additional funds for higher education will benefit them in the pursuit of their goals.
The incoming students may access the financial aid/private scholarships web portal on Dec. 1 each year, with the deadline to submit the private scholarship application, student resume, and essay on Feb. 1. Admission to A-State is a prerequisite to be considered for the financial award.
A committee consisting of the University Scholarship Committee with recommendations made by the high school counselor or principal at Jessieville and Corning will select recipients in the spring before the incoming students begin their freshman year in August.