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Simmons Family Christian Education Endowed Scholarship to benefit SWU ministry, missions majors

Simmons Family Christian Education Endowed Scholarship to benefit SWU ministry, missions majors

    03.03.15 | Development Alumni Religion Advancement

    Pictured in front from left are Shelby Jean Simmons, Rachel Lavonia Simmons and Mary Jo Simmons, who established the Simmons Family Christian Endowed Scholarship. Standing behind them are Dr. Lisa McWherter, vice president for advancement; Rev. Joey Parris, Greenville First Wesleyan Church; and Rev. Buddy Rampey, superintendent of the S.C. District of The Wesleyan Church.


    The Simmons Family Christian Endowed Scholarship has been established to assist Southern Wesleyan University students who hold memberships within the South Carolina District of The Wesleyan Church and are fulltime ministry and missions majors.

    The $30,000 donated to fund the scholarship at Southern Wesleyan included funds that were transferred from the Simmons Family and Greenville First Wesleyan Church through the Wesleyan Investment Foundation and an additional gift from the Simmons sisters.

    Shelby and Rachel Simmons are 1965 graduates. Mary Jo Simmons served as LEAP site administrator at SWU’s North Augusta learning center from 1997-1999.

    “What an absolute delight it was working with the Simmons sisters on this scholarship. It was abundantly clear they wanted to establish this scholarship honoring the memory of their beloved parents, John Aster Simmons and Amanda Reece Simmons, and they have done so in this very special way,” said Lisa McWherter, Southern Wesleyan’s vice president for advancement. “Clearly, John and Amanda were extraordinary people as are Shelby Jean, Mary Jo and Rachel Simmons who have given so selflessly to honor the memory of their parents in perpetuity.”

    Expressing appreciation for the generosity of the Simmons family, Buddy Rampey, superintendent of the South Carolina District of The Wesleyan Church, said the scholarship will benefit ministerial students for generations to come.

    "It is no surprise that one of the challenges students face today in receiving a college education is cost. This is especially true of ministerial students, because we discourage the accumulation of significant debt given the typical income they can expect following their graduation,” Rampey said. “We are delighted with the scholarship for ministerial students from the South Carolina District attending Southern Wesleyan University that has been established by the Simmons Family.

    Their love for students, the church and Southern Wesleyan is reflected in this decision. On behalf of the district, appreciation is expressed for this generous Kingdom act that will provide a legacy for this family for generations to come. We would certainly encourage others to follow their example." 

    Joy Bryant, executive director of alumni and constituent relations, characterized the Simmons sisters as living examples how to put the fruits of the spirit into action.

    “Each of these ladies has these characteristics: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I consider it an honor to know these ladies,” Bryant said.

    For details about the Simmons scholarship and other scholarships, contact Lisa McWherter, vice president for advancement, by calling (864) 644-5013 or email .

    Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, go online to swu.edu.