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Scholarship named for longtime SE psychology professor
Wayne Hoover never dreamed that friends, former students and colleagues at Southeast Missouri State University would name a scholarship after him, particularly since he's still teaching at the school.
The scholarship, awarded this spring semester for the first time, honors Hoover, 58, an associate professor of psychology who has taught at Southeast since 1972.
"I was very surprised," said Hoover who learned of the scholarship's creation at a gathering last fall at a friend's home in Cape Girardeau. University officials waited until this spring to publicly announce the new scholarship after a psychology student from Marion, Ill., was named the first recipient.
"I felt very honored and very humbled," Hoover said.
Friends, faculty colleagues and former students contributed more than $13,000 to establish the endowed scholarship, all without Hoover's knowledge.
"It is just so unusual," said Laura Delgado, an instructor of psychology at Southeast who chairs the newly created Hoover Scholarship Committee which reviews scholarship applicants and makes a recommendation on who should receive the financial award. "It seems like you have to retire or die for something to be named after you," she said.
That's not the case with Hoover who said he has no plans to retire soon. "I can't think of anything else I would rather do," he said of his love of teaching.
While the scholarship committee recommends which student or students should receive the scholarship, Hoover makes the final decision.
"It makes it all the more meaningful to me to be able to have a hand in doing this," said Hoover, who since learning of the scholarship has contributed "some money" to the cause.
The scholarship can be awarded either for a semester or a full year, and to more than one applicant when warranted.
"We wanted to leave it flexible," Delgado said.
The scholarship was established to help deserving psychology majors who have earned at least a 3.0 grade point average and been involved in student activities such as Psychology Club, collaborated with faculty members conducting research, conducted independent research projects and mentored other students.
Delgado said it made sense to name the scholarship after Hoover because of his "outstanding teaching."
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