Marshall University to Create a New Legacy Scholarship in honor of the 75

Members of the 75 Family Alumni Chapter pose for a photo at the chapter kick-off event at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center on Nov. 10, 2023 (Marshall University Foundation).

To commemorate the 75, Marshall University and the Marshall 75 Family Alumni Chapter are launching a new scholarship.

The 75 Legacy Scholarship Fund is intended for the crash victims’ surviving relatives who want to attend Marshall University to pursue higher education.

“This scholarship fund will allow descendants to attend Marshall at no cost to themselves,” said Leslie Deese Garvis, President of the Marshall 75 Family Alumni Chapter. “What better way to ensure the legacy of the 75 endures through their descendants than to provide a way for them to attend the university they loved.”

Support for full-time or part-time undergraduate students who are direct descendants of the seventy-five people on board the aircraft that crashed on November 14, 1970, is the purpose of this fund. Students that meet the requirements must complete the usual application process in order to be admitted to Marshall University. The prize may be renewed for a maximum of four years, or eight semesters, provided the winners continue to maintain high academic standing.

Garvis stated that they have found four individuals who, having previously been unable to attend Marshall, are now qualified for the scholarship and would like to continue their education there.

Priority for the fund is granted to the 75’s first-generation descendants. Any direct descendants of the 75 who are not part of the first generation would be taken into consideration if there are no first-generation beneficiaries.

“Once we’ve identified those people and exhausted the people who want to go to Marshall, then we’re going to extend the scholarship to the descendants of those first-generation individuals,” she said.

Being the daughter of Danny Deese, a crew member on the 1970 flight, Garvis is a recipient of the fund herself.

Garvis, who is now a resident of Texas, has spent the last few years attending Marshall University to get her degree. When she turned eighteen, she went to the institution to ask about the scholarship, but no money had been set aside for it yet.

“For whatever reason back then it was never funded so it never came to fruition,” Garvis said. “When we established this chapter, one of our missions was to fulfill that.”

A few years later, Garvis is fulfilling her goal of getting her degree at the school that she grew up loving, despite the tragic loss of her father.

“It has always been my goal to get my degree from Marshall,” said “Marshall has such a place in all our hearts, no matter if it’s hard.”

Garvis stated that returning to the Huntington area is challenging, particularly in November when the crash anniversary falls on the calendar. She describes it as a bittersweet sensation, but she will always adore the university.

Of the seventy-five people on board, thirty-seven were players for the Marshall University football team, which had eight coaches. In addition, there were five Southern Airways employees and twenty-five supporters and community members. Eighteen were left orphaned after losing both parents, out of the seventy children who lost at least one parent.

The Office of Student Financial Assistance will collaborate with the Marshall 75 Family Alumni Chapter Legacy Scholarship Committee to determine the descendants and choose the beneficiaries.

“The chapter’s primary mission is to keep the memory of their 75 loved ones alive,” said Matt James, executive director of alumni relations. “One way to honor them is establishing a path to higher education through the descendants scholarship. I’m honored to be involved with such a special project.”

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