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The Power of Giving

New Scholarship marks a century of family connections

The 3 Crawfords that inspired the Crawford Sherrill Endowed Scholarship


A graduate of Western Carolina University who serves as chief operating officer for the Southeast’s largest accounting firm has established a scholarship fund in honor of his late father that also commemorates four generations of family connections to WCU dating to the early 1900s.

Michael A. Crawford ’87, COO of Dixon Hughes Goodman (now Forvis, as of June 1) created the scholarship fund in December 2021 through gifts and pledges totaling $425,000 after the passing of his father, Frank Moody Crawford Jr. ’54.

Frank Moody Crawford Jr. graduated from what was then Western Carolina Teachers College. He was the son of Frank Moody Crawford Sr. ’41, who graduated from what was then Cullowhee State Normal School with a degree in education, and Edith Sherrill Crawford.

Michael Crawford’s family ties to WCU include W.R. Sherrill 1902, great-grandfather through his paternal grandmother, who graduated from the Cullowhee School, and brother Steve Crawford ’85.

The Crawford Sherrill Endowed Scholarship will aid students in the Brinson Honors College studying in the College of Education and Allied Professions or majoring in accounting in the College of Business. Space in Forsyth Building will be named in recognition of the Crawford gifts pending approval by the Board of Trustees.


Honors College benefactor remembered as role model

Judith Brinson and husband Jack Brinson


When Judith Brinson died in July 2021 at age 77, the entrepreneur who split residency between Western North Carolina’s mountains and South Carolina’s Low County left behind a legacy of philanthropy, a loving husband who shared her passion for helping others, three beloved golden retrievers and 325 children.

Only three among those 325 are her biological children; the other 322 are Western Carolina University students who have been helped in educational pursuits through scholarships established by Judy and husband Jack.

The number of WCU students who are unofficial members of the Brinson family tree will grow even larger with the establishment of two memorial scholarships — the $500,000 Judy Brinson Annual Scholarship Fund created by Jack Brinson and the $25,000 Judy Brinson Endowed Scholarship Fund, made possible by family friends Greg and Mary Thompson, of Atlanta.

Those funds are in addition to more than $2 million in gifts and commitments from Judy and Jack Brinson since 2007, all toward a goal of providing assistance to students across campus, including Honors College students, Catamount student-athletes and students with severe financial need.

Connie Haire at the first Planting Day

WCU Foundation Board member Connie Haire MAEd ’84, retired vice president at Southwestern Community College, hands a commemorative keychain to grounds crew supervisor Tom Roche during WCU’s inaugural Planting Day in 2021. 

Chancellor Brown at the first Shetland Society Day

Chancellor Kelli R. Brown waves to the crowd at the inaugural Shetland Society Day. Established to recognize WCU faculty and staff annual donors at all levels.

Project Care group photo

WCU’s Project CARE, an initiative of the Department of Intercultural Affairs that aims to improve academic performance and the retention of underrepresented students receives support from the newly launched 1889 Impact Grants Program.


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