New scholarship at Mississippi College pays full tuition

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 10:42 AM CDT
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CLINTON, Miss. (WLBT) - Free college tuition are three rare words, but it could be real for some students enrolling at Mississippi College.

A new scholarship, named in honor of the longest-serving board member in the school’s history, will provide full tuition for all admitted students who are from the state of Mississippi.

Leland Rhymes Speed served for more than four decades as a member of the MC Board of Trustees.

MC President Blake Thompson said the scholarship reflects the “incredible devotion” Speed had for Mississippi College.

“Leland was well known for giving back to his community and his home state,” Thompson said. “He is leaving a legacy that will provide generations of young people in Mississippi the opportunity to attend Mississippi College.

Beginning with those enrolling at MC for the fall 2023 semester, eligible students from the Magnolia State who receive the Leland Speed Scholarship will pay no tuition and will have all federal, state, and institutional grants and scholarships applied to their remaining balance.

It applies only to new students enrolling in Fall 2023.

To receive the Speed Scholarship, you must:

  • Be a resident of Mississippi
  • Be admitted to MC by December 1, 2022
  • Pay the housing fee by January 23, 2023 (premium residence halls - $3,725 per semester and non-premium residence halls - $3,000 per semester)
  • Live on campus in an MC residence hall
  • Fill out the federal and state aid applications

The CEO of both East Group Properties and Parkway Properties for many years, Speed was a widely respected entrepreneur and volunteer civic leader. He served as executive director of the Mississippi Development Authority under Gov. Haley Barbour, accepting the position under the stipulation that he be paid a salary of only $1 per year.

Speed’s family ties to MC date back to 1935.

MC’s Leland Speed Library is named for his father, Leland Speed, a successful investment banker who served as mayor of Jackson from 1945-49. His mother, Katherine Rhymes Speed Ettl, was a prominent sculptor. Some of her works are displayed in the Leland Speed Library and the Gore Galleries on the MC campus.

Speed’s son, Warren, said the scholarship continues the family’s legacy of commitment to Mississippi College.

“Dad would be humbled to know that his gift is being used by the University to give back to fellow Mississippi families,” said Warren, whose wife, Marla, is a 1994 MC graduate; their daughter, Elizabeth, is a senior at MC, and their son, Preston, is a sophomore at MC. “He was a champion of Christian higher education and specifically recognized the value of the Mississippi College experience.”

Before his passing, Leland Speed said he cherished the time he served on the MC Board of Trustees and in other roles to strengthen the Christian University.

“When you have the chance to be involved with an organization that is doing good things successfully, it is an honor and privilege,” Speed said in a profile in the Beacon, MC’s alumni magazine. “Mississippi College is committed to a Christian mission in a secular world. I see that becoming more important by the year.”

The deadline to apply for the Leland Speed Scholarship at Mississippi College for the 2023-24 academic year is Thursday, Dec. 1.

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