December 5, 2011
11-238

Jessica Pope
Communications Specialist

McLane Family Establishes Scholarships at VSU

 

VALDOSTA -- As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, McLane Funeral Services recently committed $7,500 to the Valdosta State University Foundation Inc. The funds will be used to support the mission of the Valdosta Literacy Center and to establish two Carson & Philena T. McLane Caregivers Scholarships.

“We are very grateful for the legacy that this business has achieved,” said J. Britt McLane. “We are grateful for the confidence this community has placed in us over these 75 years, and we want to continue to earn the trust of families we have served in the past and new families. We want to invest in our business and this community so that this legacy continues to grow.”

One-third of the funds donated to the VSU Foundation Inc. will benefit the Valdosta Literacy Center, which is housed in the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and celebrated its grand opening in mid-October.

The Valdosta Literacy Center’s mission is to be an integrated system of care for the children and families of Valdosta and surrounding areas with a focus on building children’s literacy skills, motivation, and confidence. The center serves children in grades kindergarten through five, but programs are currently being developed for middle school and high school students, said Dr. Gina Doepker, center director and a professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education.

The Valdosta Literacy Center offers several programs designed to help children in the elementary grades build literacy skills, gain confidence, and be more motivated to want to read for both pleasure and study. Doepker said community children have been participating in the programs since Sept. 12.

“We feel that strong families and good education are a crucial part of a strong, healthy and vibrant community,” said J. Britt McLane, who graduated from Valdosta State in 1992.

The remaining funds will be used to establish two $2,500 Carson & Philena T. McLane Caregivers Scholarships -- one in the Division of Social Work for those students pursuing a master’s degree and one in the College of Nursing for those interested in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program for Second Degree Students track of study, said John Crawford, vice president for University Advancement and chief executive officer of the VSU Foundation Inc. Students from Lowndes County or contiguous counties pursuing these two degrees will be eligible to apply.

J. Britt McLane said that the scholarships will be awarded in the spring for the 2012-2013 academic year. His father, W. Tyson McLane, said McLane Funeral Services will donate $5,000 each year to continue funding these two scholarships.

“I am really excited about establishing these scholarships for several reasons,” said J. Britt McLane, who noted that his grandmother, Philena, graduated with a teaching degree in 1936 from Georgia State Woman’s College, which went on to become known as Valdosta State College in 1950 and then VSU in 1993. She taught for a short time in Lake Park. W. Tyson McLane attended Valdosta State before transferring to the University of Georgia and has served in various capacities with the VSU Foundation Inc. “We have been long-time supporters of VSU.”

Regarding the establishment of the scholarships, J. Britt McLane said that he and his family want to encourage people to go into areas that allow them to help others.

“We see a parallel with our own business,” he said. “We feel that death and loss is a very significant event in so many people’s lives. The funeral process needs to be a healing experience … for individuals, families, and for our entire community. We want to help families in this time of loss with healing experiences. With … (these) scholarships, we will support people who will help provide healing experiences in other areas of challenge that people in our community face.”

For more information about the Valdosta State University Foundation or the Carson & Philena T. McLane Caregivers Scholarships, contact John Crawford, vice president for University Advancement and chief executive officer of the VSU Foundation Inc., at (229) 333-5939 or jdcrawford@valdosta.edu.

For more information about the Valdosta Literacy Center, contact Dr. Gina Doepker, center director and professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, at (229) 333-5625 or gmdoepker@valdosta.edu.

For more information about the Division of Social Work’s master’s degree program, visit www.valdosta.edu/sowk or call (229) 249-4864.

For more information about the College of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program for Second Degree Students track of study, visit www.valdosta.edu/nursing or call (229) 333-5959.

For more information about McLane Funeral Services, visit www.mclanefuneralservices.com or call (229) 242-5544.