WKU graduate funds scholarship to honor parents

Taylor Harrison

Dr. Delroy Hire wants to leave a legacy for his parents.

The WKU graduate is honoring his parents and helping students out financially with a scholarship that will be available to students from three counties.

Hire graduated from WKU in 1962 and retired in Pensacola, Fla. from the job of Deputy Armed Forces Medical Examiner. He announced the Osby Lee Hire & Lillian K. Garrison Hire Memorial Scholarship Fund on Sept. 13 at the Allen County Board of Education meeting.

That day is a special day for Hire — it would have been his mother’s hundredth birthday and his parent’s anniversary.

Students from two Kentucky counties, Allen and Monroe, and Macon County in Tennessee, will be eligible for the scholarship.

Hire chose these three counties because they are the places his parents lived for most of their lives.

“I think that’s kind of a neat way to have a memorial for them,” Hire said. 

Hire said his parents appreciated education and he thinks it is because they were not able to get an education for themselves.

“Mom and Dad believed strongly in education,” he said. “I think it’s because they both knew the cost to send me to school, but they also knew the cost of them not being able to go to school.”

Alex Downing, president of the College Heights Foundation, said this is a tribute to Hire’s parents, but also to his interest in students attending WKU.

“Dr. Hire has a passion for scholarships and for helping students,” Downing said. “He also has a great devotion to his parents.”

Hire said it was a privilege to honor his parents in this way, but they aren’t the real beneficiaries.

“The ultimate beneficiary is always going to be the students,” Hire said.

Krista Steenbergen, senior director of development for Major Gifts, said for the first year of the scholarship, which will be 2013, a student from each of the three high schools in those counties will receive $500. 

After the first year, Steenbergen said the scholarship will apply to only one county at a time on a rotating basis — first Allen, then Monroe and then Macon.

Also for this year only, Macon County will benefit from another award.

“The first year there will be two awards in Macon County, one from the school and one from the Historical Society,” Steenbergen said.

Hire also provided the funds for the Historical Society award — the difference being the Historical Society in that county will be nominating recipients rather than going through the school system.

The memorial scholarship will be given  every other year. As interest builds on the endowment Hire provided, students will eventually get more money from the scholarship, Steenbergen said.

Hire also said his parents would be pleased to see that students were being helped.

“What could be better than helping students go to school and get an education?” Hire said.