Ellis family endows second scholarship, shares hopes for Northwestern-Woodward

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Ellis family endows second scholarship, shares hopes for Northwestern-Woodward

March 29, 2010

Northwestern Foundation release

Huge potential is what the James Ellis family sees in Northwestern’s campus in Woodward. This vision led Ellis, who has been contributing to Northwestern for several years, to endow a second scholarship—the James C. Ellis Woodward Psychology Scholarship.

Ellis, who is retired in Dallas, has Oklahoma roots. After serving in the Army during World War II, he met his wife, Mary, while they were working for Farm Security in Oklahoma City. They married and moved to Dallas where they raised their three children, Buddy, Jan and Julie. Ellis and his family endowed the James and Mary Ellis Psychology Scholarship shortly after Mary passed away in 2005.

Although Ellis never sat in a Northwestern classroom, family ties to the university have created a special connection. Both of his grandchildren, Stephen Davis and Katie Franta, are Northwestern graduates, and his son-in-law Dr. Mark Davis is a professor of psychology at the university.

“We deeply appreciate Mr. Ellis’ gift and his willingness to step up and help students with their education,” Davis said. “We wanted to make sure that our students in Woodward had an opportunity to go to college, and we felt like this would be one way to support the Woodward students and the Woodward campus.”

The family feels Woodward is integral to the success of Northwestern and looks forward to watching the campus grow, Davis said. With gifts like Ellis’, support is increasing, but the need remains.

“I am deeply touched by the generosity of Mr. Ellis and the support from Dr. Mark Davis for the Woodward campus and our psychology students,” said Dr. Deena Fisher, dean of Northwestern-Woodward. “The financial need is great, and I appreciate that these two wonderful, caring people have stepped up to help our students reach their goal of obtaining a degree in psychology.”

The scholarship, an opportunity to make a difference that will remain far into the future, will serve as a lasting example of Ellis’ generosity.

“The scholarship is just going to keep on providing assistance for students,” Davis said. “We’ve been here a hundred years, and we’re going to be here for another hundred years.

“That’s just mind boggling to think how many students will be helped with an endowed scholarship to the Foundation. It’s absolutely amazing.”

For more information about contributing to scholarships at Northwestern-Woodward or the university’s campuses in Alva and Enid, contact Skeeter Bird, Northwestern Oklahoma State University Foundation CEO, at aebird@nwosu.edu or 580-327-8599.