Harlan County natives Georgenna Richardson and Georgetta Riley recently made a gift of $10,000 to Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College to establish a scholarship in memory of their parents, William Jefferson Jennings and Geneva Stout Jennings.
Income from the endowed scholarship fund will be used to award an annual scholarship to a Harlan County resident enrolled full-time at SKCTC and pursuing a degree in a science-related field. African American students will be given preference in selecting recipients.
According to Mrs. Richardson and Dr. Riley, the Jennings raised their 11 children “in a Christian home and stressed the importance of God, a good work ethic and education.” As a result of their positive influence, all of their children attended training schools, colleges or universities where they obtained graduate and post graduate degrees.
Born in Harlan in 1925, Mrs. Jennings left high school prior to graduating and worked at home caring for her family. She later returned to school, earned her GED and completed vocational training for culinary arts and nursing. Mr. Jennings was born in 1904 in Middlesboro. He never graduated from high school, however, he became a skilled tailor and maintenance/ repair worker.
Mrs. Richardson and Dr. Riley said their parents taught them to be respectful of others and to treat others in a manner they expected to be treated. “In memory of our loving parents who made many sacrifices and gave us much, we joyfully seek to contribute to individuals in pursuit of higher education,” they said.
SKCTC President W. Bruce Ayers said the Geneva and William J. Jennings Endowed Scholarship Fund is a wonderful testament to the lives of two parents who instilled the value of education in their children. “The college is privileged to be a part of honoring the memory of Mr. and Mrs. Jennings,” said Ayers. “Scholarships play a vital role in supporting SKCTC students who need the additional assistance in order to attend college and pursue a career.”