New engineering scholarship honors memory of late MU graduate

The Scott N. Wright Memorial Scholarship will benefit in-state mechanical engineering students in perpetuity.

Since graduating in 1981, Scott and Linda Wright have inspired both of their children to attend MU. After Scott passed away in 2014, the Wright family decided to establish the Scott N. Wright Memorial Scholarship in his honor.

The scholarship is open to all mechanical and aerospace engineering students from Missouri, with preference given to those who have similar experiences to Scott, such as growing up on a farm. Other preferences include participating in marching band, Boy or Girl Scouts and sports. The scholarship will be worth a minimum of $1,000 each year with applications through the College of Engineering’s annual scholarship application.

“There are so many young students that need assistance, and to me every little bit helps,” Linda said.

Scott, who passed away at age 55 after battling cancer, earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. He served on the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Industrial Advisory Council and supported various capstone design projects, according to an MU News brief. He and his wife, who graduated with the same degree in 1981, first started talking after skipping a mechanical design class their senior year and going to the Heidelberg.

Both Linda and Scott had been very involved alumni, Whitney Hays, advancement officer for the College of Engineering, said. Through alumni engagement events and personal interactions with Linda, Hays was able to assist her with the establishment of a permanent memorial scholarship in Scott’s honor.

“He’d be very proud,” Linda said. “He always loved helping students, and to me this was a good way to do it.”

Serving on the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Industrial Advisory Council meant that twice a year, Scott reviewed the semester-long projects that seniors in mechanical engineering were required to complete and present. Linda said he loved being involved with the council and getting to work with the students.

Linda said both she and her husband knew they wanted to give back to the students of the School of Engineering before he passed away, especially after receiving financial assistance throughout college. She said she hopes the scholarship will help students like them.

“I’m hoping that there will always be young men or women that grew up in Missouri on farms that want to be engineers,” Linda said.

Scott and Linda’s two children both graduated from MU. Their daughter Sonya Germain earned a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2009, and their son Kevin Wright earned his bachelor’s in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 2012.

“We’ve always been Tigers,” Linda said. “Being a Tiger to me is being proud of tradition.”

This fall, the scholarship was awarded to its first recipient, senior Jonathan Halla, at the College of Engineering’s annual scholarship dinner. There, Halla was able to thank the Wrights in person.

Halla is from an area close to where Scott grew up and will graduate in the spring of 2019 with the desire to help those in underdeveloped countries. He said it was an honor to be selected.

“It’s a super cool experience to meet the people who are contributing to help pay for your school costs,” Halla said. “They are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”

Linda said she was very pleased with Halla receiving the scholarship and how appreciative he was.

“I think it’s a super considerate and helpful donation that they provided to this school,” Halla said. “It’s super cool how they were honoring their loved one and putting his name out there to help for future students.”

Edited by Olivia Garrett |

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