JANS – When Anton Vincent, president of Mars Wrigley, North America, visited Jackson State University to serve as the keynote speaker for the Spring Graduate Commencement Ceremony, he left more than pearls of wisdom. The Jackson native bestowed a generous $100,000 gift to establish The Pearl and George Vincent Educational Excellence Scholarship in honor of his parents, who served on the faculty for 25 years.
“My parents were lifelong educators, between them 88 years of educational leadership. Teaching students from early childhood all the way to Ph.D. students,” says Vincent. “This scholarship is in honor of their commitment, leadership, and legacy in the educational field. I really want to offer talented students who are passionate about a career in education a chance. Investing in these students impacts all of society.”
The scholarship will be used to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies, and other fees included in the cost of education for eligible students. To be eligible for the scholarship, candidates must be an undergraduate student majoring in education and enrolled full-time at Jackson State University, must maintain a 2.75 GPA or above, and must demonstrate a financial need.
College of Education and Human Development Dean Jerri Haynes, Ed.D., said this gift will enable students to fill the void left by public education funding cuts, minimize students’ debts, support equitable outcomes, and expand students’ networks.
“The Pearl and George Vincent Educational Excellence Scholarship will pave the path to the future of education in the College of Education and Human Development by allowing our students’ access to become future educators. It will allow our students to spend more time on their academics and less time thinking about how they will pay for school. The contribution made by Mr. Vincent is transformative. We cannot say thank you enough for such a significant contribution to the future of education. People like Mr. Vincent make a difference in education and our society, and we are incredibly grateful,” said Dean Haynes.
Vincent is a graduate of Murrah High School in Jackson, where he was a scholar-athlete having played on many championship basketball teams for legendary Coach Orsmond Jordan Jr. He is enshrined in the Murrah High School Hall of Fame and was voted Most Likely to Succeed. Vincent recalls his parents’ guidance as educators helped prepare him for a purpose driven life and leadership in a global economy.
“My parents were beautiful people. They were tough and supportive. Most importantly, they ensured we had a spiritual foundation, worked hard, didn’t make excuses, and never set limits on what we could achieve. These are fundamental principles that they instilled in me and my four brothers George, Michael, Pierre, and Tyrone. We’ve tried to embody those principles throughout our lives.” Vincent says he is excited to play a role in supporting the next generation of educators who will soon leave lasting impressions on their students, just like his parents did for so many in the Jackson Metro area and across the south.
“My parents loved educating students. They got no greater joy than seeing students break through and achieve,” says Vincent. “I can’t tell you how many times the thousands of students whom my parents taught enthusiastically saying, ‘your mom taught me’ or ‘your dad taught me.’ My parents impacted lives every day. I look forward to my family helping to build more dedicated educators through this scholarship.”