are able to attend McNeese State University for one reason - scholarships. A
recent $10,000 donation from a 1985 McNeese alumnus has changed the lives of
four students by providing financial support to obtain a degree.
a native of DeQuincy, is a former local and state government official in
Louisiana and an expert in natural disaster management and recover. Rainwater, who received
his Bachelor of Arts degree in government, is currently a government
affairs consultant, a corporate vice
president and a partner with the disaster response/recovery firm.
Rainwater knows what it’s like to struggle financially
in college. His parents - Jerald and Leila Rainwater - worked hard every month to make ends meet but they managed to help
support him through his first two years at McNeese until he joined ROTC, which provided
financial support. He would go on to serve in the U.S. Army Reserves and
Louisiana Army National Guard and retire as a U.S. Army Colonel.
So to honor the memory and sacrifice of his
parents, he made this generous contribution to the McNeese Foundation
to provide student scholarships at his alma mater. "I feel so blessed in my life
and wanted to give back. Scholarships open up opportunities for students.”
scholarship recipients are: Spencer Jackson, engineering senior from Lake
Charles; Stacy Lyons, elementary education and art senior from Lake Charles;
Chloe Pugliese, elementary education junior from Lake Charles; and Lissette
Tersiev, radiologic sciences senior from Fort Polk.
works full time to help pay for his college expenses. When the TOPS program
wasn’t fully funded in 2016-2017, he had to work additional hours and his
grades suffered slightly. The scholarship was used to pay for his books and other related school expenses for this
semester and will also allow him to focus more on his studies.
"I am not sure if Mr. Rainwater truly
understands the impact this scholarship has made on my life and the level of emotion
I had when I first received the email about my award. . . One day, I hope to be
able to do the same thing that he did for me,” says Jackson.
Lyons is a wife and mother to four
special needs children. She transferred from Sowela Technical Community College
and plans to graduate next spring. But those plans were almost derailed because
of her husband’s recent health issues and the lack of income to continue this
"When I was notified about receiving
this scholarship, everything changed because it helped me financially
in many ways.For example, I am able to work less at my job this semester
to focus on classroom observations and completing art projects. I was able to
afford my books and my supplies this semester and in the spring,” explains Lyons. "I want to thank Mr. Paul Rainwater. . .I
will graduate next spring without a huge financial burden.”
Pugliese says this scholarship allows her to continue
pursuing her bachelor's degree in education without frantically stressing over
how she'll make ends meet.
"When I received word that I had been chosen as a recipient of this
scholarship, my jaw dropped. I was in awe of Mr. Rainwater's generosity and
thoughtfulness. There were many times growing up that college was just a
wishful thought of mine. I didn't think attending would actually be an option
due to financial reasons. However, scholarships such as this one are whathas
turned that wishful thinking into a reality,” adds Pugliese.
Tersiev commutes to McNeese
from Fort Polk, where her husband is stationed. Her her attention and time are often
wrapped up with school, work or the commute and this is financially tough for
I constantly remind myself that my hard work will one day pay off. Having been awarded this scholarship has reinforced that
belief,” says Tersiev. "The monetary value of the scholarship
alone is probably the first thing any recipient would think about. Of course,
it is a big help especially now that I do not have to apply for another loan to
help pay for my school expenses. However, the real treasure in receiving a
scholarship is the validation and reinforcement it provides. It has rewarded me
for the work I have accomplished so far and it is an encouragement to continue
no matter how difficult it can be. Mr. Rainwater’s scholarship has given me
more drive, focus and determination to reach my goals.”
left, Spencer Jackson, engineering senior, Dr. Daryl Burckel, McNeese president, Rainwater,
Stacy Lyons, elementary education and visual arts senior, Chloe Pugliese,
elementary education junior, and Dr. Mitchell Adrian, McNeese provost and vice
president for academic affairs and enrollment management.
left, Paul Rainwater, Lissette Tersiev, radiologic sciences senior from Fort
Dr. Daryl Burckel, McNeese