May 13, 2008

Scholarship Fund Established to Assist Chilton County Students

Mrs. Mary Lou Easterling, the widow of William Richard Easterling, recently established a $500,000 scholarship fund to assist graduates from Chilton County’s six high schools attend The University of Alabama. The William Richard Easterling Endowed Scholarship provides scholarships for Chilton County high school graduates to attend UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, where in 1960 Easterling earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration and statistics.

Mrs. Easterling said her husband, a Chilton County native, had always wanted to start a fund but couldn’t due to uncertainties surrounding his health. “A couple of months ago, it just hit me, ‘I ought to do that,’” she said.

William Richard Easterling, known by most people as Bill, was born and raised in Chilton County and taught seventh though 12th grade math at Verbena School. He was instrumental in starting the school’s basketball team, which practiced in the Mitchell Dam clubhouse because the school didn’t have a gym.

After serving two years in the army, Easterling joined E.R. Carpenter Company, which makes polyurethane foam and chemicals and polyester fiber used as cushioning by the automotive, bedding, floor covering, packaging, and furniture industries, among others. He served as president and chief operations officer before his retirement in 1995. He passed away in 2005.

J. Barry Mason, dean of the business school, said gifts such as the William Richard Easterling Endowed Scholarship form the foundation for the college and allow talented students an opportunity to achieve academic and professional success.

Superintendent of Education Keith Moore thanked the Easterling family on behalf of the board for their contribution to local education. “Today, what you and your family have done is going to make dreams come true for several of our students, and we appreciate what you’ve done,” Moore said.

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