Cameron University establishes Endowed Scholarship of the 1961 National Championship Junior Rose Bowl Team

Cameron University has established the Endowed Scholarship of the 1961 National Championship Junior Rose Bowl Team, thanks to an initial gift of $23,000 contributed by members of the team. The establishment of the endowment allows the team to claim another Cameron first, as it is the only endowment to be established by members of a specific Cameron athletics team.

“Endowed scholarships are critical to our ability to provide a top-quality education at an affordable cost,” says Cameron President Cindy Ross. “The members of the 1961 football team will always remain part of the Cameron family, and we are grateful for their generosity which provides this endowment and which will benefit student-athletes in perpetuity.”

“In 2011, when members of Cameron’s 1961 National Championship football team gathered for a reunion during the university’s annual Homecoming festivities, they had a discussion about establishing an endowment of some sort,” says Albert Johnson, Jr., Vice President for University Advancement. “Marcus Wilcoxson approached me with the idea and agreed to spearhead the fundraising effort. For the past year, he has reached out to his fellow team members, who generously contributed to the endowment.”

Donors to the endowment are Paul Baker, Enid; Daniel Dieck, Waukegan, Ill.; Bob Kelley, Lacey, Wash.; Lonny Morrison, Wichita Falls, Texas; Irwin Strifler, Edmonton, Alberta; Wilcoxson, Lawton; and Tony Zens, Waukegan, Ill. Morrison’s gift was specifically in honor of Leroy Montgomery, coach, and Charlie Dean, assistant coach,  who were inducted into the Cameron University Athletics Hall of Fame this year.

“The 1961 National Championship Junior Rose Bowl team felt this was one way to repay Cameron University for those years spent at Cameron,” says Wilcoxson. “They were some of the most meaningful years in our lives. We hope this endowment will further the education of Cameron student-athletes.”

“Cameron did a lot for our team, and many of us feel that our individual lives have been greatly enriched by our time at Cameron,” Morrison says. “For me, contributing to this endowment is the beginning of the repayment of an indebtedness long ago incurred. I am hopeful that this endowed scholarship may allow some athletes to graduate who would not otherwise have been able to do so. In the absence of the scholarships we received from Cameron, few of the members of our ’61 team would have had the educational opportunities we ultimately received so it is fair to say this is the least we could do.”

The Endowed Scholarship of the 1961 National Championship Junior Rose Bowl Team will provide financial assistance to former members of Cameron University’s intercollegiate athletic teams, after they have exhausted their athletic eligibility, in completing their studies for a baccalaureate or graduate degree. 

For information about giving to Cameron, contact the Office of University Advancement at 580-581-2999.

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March 14, 2012

PR#12-047