First recipient of the Nancy Evans Memorial Scholarship set to graduate

Aurora Maldonado is the first Nancy Evans Memorial Scholar to graduate from Lamar University. Maldonado, a social work major from Beaumont, will graduate in May and begin working on her master’s Aurora Maldonadodegree at the University of Houston. 

The scholarship, endowed in honor of LU’s first lady Nancy Evans, was established in fall 2017 and is awarded to two first-generation students entering LU as freshman in the fall semester. Students are eligible to retain the scholarship for four years or eight long semesters if they maintain a minimum a 2.8 cumulative GPA and complete 12 hours per semester. Nancy Evans Scholars are also expected to exemplify qualities of the scholarship’s namesake and commit to service leadership through ongoing civic engagement and involvement, which is documented through a mentor.

“Nancy Evans left a legacy of good work, and it’s an honor to have her scholarship because of all that she did,” said Maldonado. “Sadly, I never got to meet her but it has been such an honor to have this scholarship and I’ve worked to bring a good name to it.”

Maldonado has maintained a 4.0 GPA but has also served the LU community and the community at large. On campus, she was a founding member of the Lamar University Hispanic Society, a member of the Reaud Honors College and the Social Work Student Association. She also served as student director and student leadership executive board chair for the Students Occupationally and Academically Ready and conducted undergraduate research. In the greater community, Maldonado contributed time to Harvest House, Buckner Children & Family Services and Catholic Charities. She was also a non-voting board member of Boys’ Haven.

The launch of the scholarship creates more higher educational opportunities for Beaumont ISD students, which was a passion for Evans. Evans established a tutoring program at South Park Middle School and Pietzsch-MacArthur Elementary School to encourage children to prepare for college. Through Evans’ work with the schools, a community collaboration resulted to enhance learning spaces and innovative learning labs, called Cardinal NEST (Navigating Excellence Success and Triumph) have been built in several elementary schools.

“We’re doing what Nancy would have wanted, making college a tangible, desired expectation rather than just a dream for the youth,” said Teresa Simpson, executive director, Office of Community Relations, Economic Development and Student Access. “Every year the scholarship includes four years of tuition (eight full semesters), fees, room, board and a book stipend to two deserving graduating high school seniors who attend Beaumont Independent School District.”

To date, eight students have been awarded the Nancy Evans Memorial Scholarship.

“I have had the scholarship for the four years I have been here, and it pushed me to do the best I could,” said Maldonado. “It was such a blessing because I didn’t know how I was going to go to college before I received the scholarship.”

Learn more about the Nancy Evans Memorial Scholarship.