Sisters continue Dads’ legacy by endowing Ag scholarship at SPC
LEVELLAND – The relationship between sisters, Mary Lu Grappe and Linda Dickson, and South Plains College is a long one that can be traced to their childhood. The girls grew up with the campus in their backyard.
Both of their parents worked for the college – John Payton Dickson as the Tax Assessor/Collector and later the Business Manager and Lunette Dickson as Assistant Professor of Business Administration, and later Department Head and Professor of Business Administration.
The girls felt very at home at South Plains College and they often participated in plays and musical productions whenever children needed to be cast. It was a foregone conclusion that the pair would attend and graduate from SPC. Mary Lu transferred to Texas Tech University where she earned a degree in Finance.
Linda transferred to West Texas A&M University where she received a degree in accounting. The sisters moved to Dallas to pursue their careers. Mary Lu met her future husband, Ray Grappe, and moved back to Levelland. Linda made her home in Dallas and continued her career there.
“My Dad loved the college so much,” Mary Lu said. “He started out as the Tax Assessor and then he became the business manager for the Business Office. He stayed in that position until he retired.
“After Dad passed away in 2008, Mom established the memorial scholarship,” she said.
Their mom had managed the funding for the scholarship until around five years ago. Now the sisters worked together to continue the scholarship effort that their mother had started.
Mary Lu and Linda, acting on behalf of Lunette, pledged to give $20,000 to the South Plains College Foundation to endow the John Payton Dickson Memorial Scholarship to assist SPC students majoring in agriculture.
“Dad was always fond of the Ag program, and he considered agriculture students to be ‘the salt of the earth,’” she said.
“Three years ago, we began attending the scholarship banquet when our mom could not attend anymore, and we were so impressed by the community’s support of the college,” Mary Lu said. “Being from Levelland, we see first-hand how much the college has grown through the years. This is an excellent college, and we are proud to help students with scholarships.”
For more information about ways to support scholarships and students at South Plains College, contact Julie Gerstenberger, Director of Development and Alumni Relations, at (806) 716-2020.