Michigan State University announced the establishment of the George Webster Scholarship Program. Unveiled at halftime at the MSU vs. Indiana Basketball Game in March 2007, Ron Mason announced the establishment of the Scholarship Fund for former Spartan Athletes for completing their Education at Michigan State University.
The scholarship, initially funded and started by Jim Nelson of Ada, Michigan , is given annually to two former athletes who have met the criteria established by the committee for furthering their education and completing the academic work needed to obtain their degree at Michigan State University. It is the wishes of the GWSF founder that the selected candidates will engender similar persistence, resilience, respect and dignity in their conduct to model that of George Webster (1963-71).
In the words of Jim Nelson, “the goal for the George Webster Scholars has three (3) legs. The first leg is for Former Athletes - Finish your degree. The second leg is for the Fans - The athletic fans of M SU can demonstrate their loyalty to past athletes by giving them support rather than simply forget about them. It is their way of saying thank you, years later, for all the excitement and memorable moments they fostered by their fans. Finally, the third leg is for the Youngsters – The Webster Scholars will serve as mentors in their community and help fulfill the original goal as envisioned by George Webster and myself.”
“I am so honored that Jim Nelson would think so much of me to create this scholarship in my name”, says Webster. “My love for this university is unparallel and to know that Jim has created a fund that will associate my name with the University for eternity is truly humbling to me.”
"Without a doubt Mr. Nelson's generosity will have long term positive effect on former student-athletes”, says Jim Pignataro, Associate Athletics Director /Director of Student-Athlete Support Services. "For me it is an absolute pleasure to Chair the George Webster Scholarship Fund for Mr. Jim Nelson. As a committee, we have the honor of recruiting and selecting former student-athletes who embody the charter of George Webster along with the selflessness of his actions. There is no question Mr. Nelson's generosity will change the lives of former student-athletes forever as well as continue the legacy of George Webster's contributions to Michigan State University."
Each recipient shall become familiar with the values George Webster demonstrates and further replicate his community service for those with special needs while providing encouragement as one who was fully aware of life’s trials and tribulations.
Up until his death, George continued to have speaking engagements at area high schools talking to students and expounding on the virtues and benefits of getting an education and working hard to prepare themselves for the future. George was a firm believer of furthering ones education to its fullest. Ernie Pasteur, one of George’s MSU teammates recalls a discussion with George where he told him, “Education can give you the hope and the chance to live the quality of life you deserve. With out the education your opportunities are limited.”
Ernie also related the strong feeling that George has towards his Spartan Family. “That’s what the Spartan Family is all about, Spartans helping Spartans in their time of need. They did it for me and now my scholarship gives the opportunity to give back to them.”
The community service emphasis of this scholarship is on local elementary, junior and senior high schools while fostering a strong belief in the value of education for all students. Each recipient may choose to participate in the office of Student-Athlete Support Services Life Skills Programs. The recipient pledges to give back to the community with personal appearances or joint efforts with others from Michigan State University. If you feel as a former Spartan player, that you meet the criteria listed above, contact Mr. Jim Pignataro at the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athelete Academic Center for further information on being considered as a candidate.
“I am very excited and feel honored to be the person to start this scholarship program in George’s name”, says Jim Nelson, an MSU graduate of 1960. “This scholarship is funded to provide two students each semester to finish their education at MSU. I am hopeful that former players and members of the MSU Football Players Association and others will grasp the opportunity provided to them and potentially grow the scholarship to fund more than just two student-athletes per year”.
For those of you wishing to contribute to this worthy cause of helping your former Spartan teammates complete their college education, you can make your check payable to Michigan State University and in the memo section of the check write in “George Webster Scholarship Fund AA0029”. All donations will get a tax-deductible letter and credit towards their levels in the Spartan Fund. Details of how to contribute are shown in the contribution section of this website.