October 30, 1998
DETROIT -- Western Michigan University has named one of the University's most important scholarships, a Medallion Scholarship, in honor of the late Detroit state legislator Morris Hood Jr., WMU President Elson S. Floyd announced Oct. 29 in Detroit.
"Education in the state of Michigan has lost a friend in Morris Hood," Floyd said at a reception for alumni and friends at the Westin Hotel. "So it is only fitting that we name a Medallion Scholarship in his honor."
"It is wonderful that WMU has chosen to recognize one of the state's most dedicated public servants and one of Detroit's own in this way," said Lori B. Waddles of Oak Park, chair of the WMU Board of Trustees. "His dedication to the education of all our citizens was an inspiration to each of us."
Each Medallion Scholarship is worth $32,000 over four years. WMU awards about 20 of the prestigious scholarships each year. They are made possible by the generosity of alumni, friends, corporations, foundations and other organizations.
Hood, who began his legislative career in 1970, was the longest serving member of the Michigan House of Representatives. He was the first African-American chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and also served on the House Fiscal Agency Governing Board.
As a long-time member and chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, Hood was famous for his support of the state's 15 public universities. WMU honored Hood with an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1988.
Among his many contributions to education in Michigan, Hood was one of the principal authors of the Martin Luther King/Caesar Chavez/Rosa Parks Program. The program helps to promote minority students and faculty in universities across the state.
The Medallion Scholarship program was created in 1984 under the leadership of WMU trustee emeritus J. Michael Kemp of Bloomfield Hills. The Medallion Scholarships are named in honor of prominent individuals, alumni and members of the University community. They are among the largest merit-based awards given to incoming freshmen at any public university in the United States.
More than 10,000 high school students from around the United Stated have participated in the rigorous on-campus competition for these scholarships since the program's inception. In its 15 years, the Medallion Scholarship Program has awarded students more than $70 million.
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