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Retired JSU economics professor establishes $25,000 endowment for late nephew

Acting president Thomas Hudson accepts a $25,000 pledge from retired JSU professor Dr. Rhonda Fulgham. Fulgham spent 30 years at the university teaching economics. (Photo by Rachel James-Terry/JSU)

Acting president Thomas Hudson accepts a $25,000 pledge from retired JSU professor Dr. Rhonda Fulgham. Fulgham spent 30 years at the university teaching economics. (Photo by Rachel James-Terry/JSU)

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Thomas Hudson, acting president of JSU, accepted a $25,000 pledge from Dr. Rhonda Fulgham, on Friday, establishing the Eric Lucas Endowed Scholarship. The fund is named for Fulgham’s nephew, who transitioned unexpectedly in 2018. To date, she has donated $10,000 toward her objective.

“We are always pleased when someone makes an investment in our students and are confident in our ability to provide a premium education,” said Hudson. “We also appreciate and respect the circumstances under which this gift was made, and we are excited about the opportunities these funds will offer our students.”

The scholarship will be available to business or liberal arts majors as a tribute to Lucas, an entrepreneur and music artist. Although Lucas graduated from the University of Mississippi, Fulgham’s heart belongs to JSU. She retired from the university after 30 years of service as an economics professor.

“I have been working on scholarships for Jackson State for the last 20 years. I believe this is my sixth one. My goal is to establish 10 in all,” said Fulgham. She credits her daughter April Fulgham for encouraging her to create one for Lucas.

“His heart was really into music. So this could help a young person pursue their degree, and assist them in their music or business venture,” Fulgham explained.

April said her cousin “never met a stranger” and would give the shirt off his back. “If it involved helping someone, no matter what it was, you could call on him. He would always be there.”

Fulgham said she wants to make it easier for young people to access the capital needed to pursue their goals. “I just want them to get a college education without headaches or financial problems. That is always the number one issue facing college students – finances.”

The Eric Lucas Endowed Scholarship will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the university’s Title III program contingent on fund availability.