1986 is a significant year for anyone living in the Permian Basin. That year marked the start of a dramatic downturn in the oilfield that left many without a job. As the foundation trustees watched the situation unfold, they asked themselves how they could strategically respond to the need. The answer was to launch an innovative scholarship program at Midland College, providing graduates from any high school in Midland County the opportunity to pursue a college education.
In 2003, Helen Greathouse Charitable Trust partnered with the Abell-Hanger Foundation, and the scholarship was renamed Legacy. In 2006, a third Midland family, Harvey, and Harriet Herd, through the Chaparral Foundation, joined this rich tradition of supporting MC students in their pursuit of higher education. That tradition grew again when Dorothy and Clarence Scharbauer, through the Scharbauer Foundation, united with the other three foundations to support this tremendous educational legacy.
When established in 1986, the scholarships created access for Midland students who wanted to pursue their college education. This was particularly meaningful because many Midland families felt the pressure of an economic downturn. Creating access was critical to sustaining the educational dreams of Midland youth.
In the Fall of 2021, we modified the Legacy Scholarship program to focus on student success, thus allowing scholars to maximize their educational opportunities. The new Legacy provides students with trained academic success coaches. We also added a Legacy program director to assist students in navigating their first two years of college and prepare them to successfully transition to a 4-year degree program or enter the workforce. The director also ensures that Legacy Scholars are engaged in community service and develop their understanding of philanthropy.
Additionally, the approved fields of study (degrees & certifications) are now based on Permian Basin workforce needs. Developing skilled workers to meet the needs of the oil and gas industry and other critical industries, such as health care and education, is essential to our community’s success.
We continued the community service expectation but expanded the scope of the experience to include a variety of nonprofit volunteer experiences.
Perhaps the most exciting change is the addition of the Abell-Hanger Fellows program. Graduating sophomores who complete the Legacy Academy can apply for the education continuance scholarship. If selected as a scholarship recipient, they can transfer to a 4-year university (WTAMU, Texas Tech, UTPB, Angelo State, and Sul Ross University) with scholarship support for their final two years.
Visit the Midland College Legacy website.