The family of the late Allen and Mary Lee Posey has fulfilled a Northwestern State University endowed scholarship that honors the couple who were active in the Natchitoches community and at Northwestern State University for more than 50 years. The Allen and Mary Lee Posey Distinguished Graduate Scholarship in Education is awarded to a graduate student seeking an advanced degree and career in education. The Posey family recently added $30,000 to the existing scholarship fund, which will be matched by the Board of Regents to complete the full amount of $100,000.
“We have chosen to ensure that the scholarship will continue in the memory of our parents by fulfilling the endowed scholarship,” said Lee Posey, the couple’s son. “The scholarship will support an early childhood education major that has a love of children and a passion for making a difference in the lives of those he or she teaches.”
“We are so thankful to the Posey family for their gift to establish a scholarship for graduate studies in memory of their parents, Allen and Mary Lee Posey,” said Dr. Kimberly McAlister, head of the Department of Teaching, Leadership and Counseling in NSU’s Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. “Very few scholarships are available for advanced degrees and their generosity will benefit many students seeking to make a difference through teaching and leadership.”
Allen Murph Posey Sr. and Mary Lee Sigler Posey were natives of Red River Parish who met at Northwestern State in 1946. Allen had served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and spent 23 months in German POW camps. After the war, he returned home and enrolled at Northwestern majoring in agriculture. His children recounted that he would stop by the bus station in Coushatta on Sunday evenings to see if anyone wanted to ride to Natchitoches rather than ride the bus and Mary Lee always took him up on his offer. Their first date was made in the library at Northwestern where he asked her to a movie. They were married in January 1948.
In 1947, Mary Lee was the first NSU graduate in child development, a new program in the home economics curriculum. At that time, state certifications did not allow child development graduates to teach in public schools, so she continued her studies at night and during summers to earn bachelor’s, master’s and +30 in education. Allen was involved with agriculture, raising cattle as a hobby, and retired from the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles. He also served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Allen Posey passed away in 2003. Mary Lee Posey passed away in 2016.
“Many former students continued to stay in touch with our parents, sharing fond memories of their days in school, whether from elementary school or college,” said Sheila Clark of Logansport, the couple’s daughter who just retired after more than 39 years in education. “It is not unusual to meet teachers who still remember Mrs. Posey and the positive impact she had on their education career.
“My teaching experience actually began when I helped in my mother’s kindergarten classroom,” Clark said. “Mother was very influential in my education. Her example, her passion and her love of teaching rubbed off on me as well as numerous former students.”
Two of the Posey children, Allen Jr., a Baton Rouge attorney, and Clark, have teaching degrees earned in 1971 and 1976. Lee Posey (1974), who is mayor of the city of Natchitoches, has a demonstrated history of support of education and programs for youth in the Natchitoches community.
Allen and Mary Lee Posey’s association with NSU began even before they met. Mary Lee’s parents, Abner Lee and Nyease Dowies Sigler, were graduates of Louisiana State Normal College, as NSU was then known. Allen and Mary Lee were second generation students. Their three children and several grandchildren are NSU alumni.
“With four generations of family, ties are close,” Lee Posey said.
“We are sincerely grateful to the Posey family, whose generosity will directly benefit deserving and passionate graduate students,” said NSU Development Officer Jill Bankston, CFRE. “This is especially meaningful because Mrs. Mary Lee Posey was well-known for her work with several generations of preschool students and made lasting contributions to early childhood education for children throughout Louisiana.”
For information on fulfilling a scholarship to benefit Northwestern State University students, call (318) 357-4414 or visit northwesternalumni.com.