Family dedicates endowed scholarship in memory of two daughters

March 25, 2011

PLAINVIEW – Vernon and Belva Stokes of Midland turned the grief of losing two adult daughters to cancer into a blessing for future generations of Wayland Baptist University students by endowing a scholarship in the memory of their girls.

The Shelly Stokes Coll and Shauna Stokes Sanderson Endowed Scholarship is a memorial to the two whose lives were both claimed by cancer. The scholarship is designated to help students in need to continue a pattern both ladies set during their lives.

; “Both left a legacy of opening their hearts and homes to people in need,” the plaque reads. “People were always welcome in their homes, whether for a meal, a night or an extended stay.”

Shelly received her bachelor’s degree in education from Texas Tech in 1982 and taught at the Frenship Independent School District and in Roswell, N.M., where she was an active member of her church. At the time of her death at age 50, she and husband Eric Coll were married for 27 years and had four children: Macy Coll Dodson and husband Mark, Ashton Coll, Taylor Coll and Spencer Coll.

Shauna received her bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising from Texas Tech in 1987. She worked in merchandising prior to becoming a mother, and she was active in her church as well. At her death at age 39, she and husband Brian were married for 17 years and had three children: McCall, Marlee and McLane Sanderson.

The Stokeses established a scholarship in their names in 1999 which has already benefited numerous students, and they hope to accomplish the same with the memorial scholarship to their daughters. Belva and Vernon, who has served on the WBU Board of Trustees for several years, also have two adult sons. Much of the family was on hand for the dedication ceremony.

In presenting the plaque and keepsake shadowboxes for the families, Director of Development Hope English directed comments at the Stokes’ grandchildren, encouraging them to be honored by the legacy left by their grandparents that will insure the memory of their mothers will live on at Wayland.

Endowed scholarships are created with a gift of any size and invested through the Baptist Foundation of Texas. Once the principle reaches $25,000, the fund is fully endowed and a plaque is dedicated. Then the interest is pulled annually to provide scholarships for students based on the criteria set forth by the donors. The principle is left intact for perpetuity.

For more information on endowments, contact English at (806) 291-3430.