Harold and Hermena (Parks) Holigan live in Dallas now, but their hometown of Puxico is still close to their hearts. The family recently created the Holigan Family Scholarship as an opportunity to give back to their hometown. The scholarship fund will help Puxico High School graduates achieve their higher education goals.
“Education made a huge difference in our lives. Now we want to give those from Puxico the opportunity to get a college education,” said Harold Holigan.
The ongoing scholarship will be awarded to students who are graduates of Puxico High School with a 2.75 grade point average and are pursuing an undergraduate degree at Three Rivers College or Southeast Missouri State University. Additionally, the scholarship will support junior and senior high school students at Puxico who are enrolled in dual credit courses at Three Rivers or Southeast.
Administering the restricted scholarship are the Three Rivers Endowment Trust and Southeast Missouri University Foundation.
“The Holigans have shown a true commitment to their roots by funding this scholarship,” said Dr. Wesley Payne, President of Three Rivers College. “Their generosity will make a real difference in the lives of Puxico graduates for years to come.”
With this scholarship, Puxico High School students who wish to pursue a college degree or college credit classes can do so at no cost to their families. The Holigan Family Scholarship will cover any unmet needs after institutional scholarships and grants are applied to cover students’ tuition, fees, books, and supplies. Students must be enrolled full time and maintain a 3.0 grade point average in college. The scholarship may be renewed for a minimum of two years.
“Unfortunately, finances oftentimes deter individuals from seeking higher education,” said Michelle Reynolds, Director of Development at Three Rivers College and executive director of the Endowment Trust. Thankfully, the Holigan Family realizes this and are re-investing in Puxico through their generous scholarship support.”
Harold and Hermena grew up in Puxico and graduated from Puxico High School in 1959. After graduating, Harold attended Southeast Missouri State College for two years in pre-engineering and general studies before transferring to the University of Missouri-Columbia to complete a degree in electrical engineering. Hermena earned a Bachelor of Science in vocational home economics in 1963 from Southeast.
After a very successful career with AT&T, Harold started his own business, Just A Math Problem (JAMP) Enterprises, LLC, in 1982 in Dallas, Texas. Harold often references “Just a Math Problem” as his philosophy in approaching opportunities, addressing challenges, and making decisions. JAMP focuses on the residential real estate market, including operations in manufactured housing, homebuilding, land development, land banking, property management, and technology. The company has developed more than 100,000 residential lots, constructed more than 8,000 homes, and built more than 60 manufactured home communities across the United States, including in Texas, Utah, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Michigan, and Tennessee. Harold and Hermena have three children, Michael and Sarah Holigan, both of Dallas, Texas, and Rebecca Smeltzer of Nashville, Tennessee.
The couple were recently recognized during a reception at Puxico High School, where they were warmly received for their support of their home community.
“This opportunity opened the door for many of our students to begin their college education while still in high school. Before this scholarship was available, we would normally have 6-8 students who could afford to pay for dual credit courses. The first semester we offered the scholarship, enrollment soared to 32 students,” said Cindy Crabb, superintendent of Puxico R-8 School District.
“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community of Puxico,” said Harold. “It’s a great community and one that helped and supported us tremendously when we needed it. We want to help Puxico any way we can. We want to give every person the opportunity to earn a college education, and continue to make Puxico a place that people want to be from and live in. We hope this program can make a difference and last beyond us.”
The Holigan Family Scholarship is important for Three Rivers students like Shelby Hobbs. “This scholarship is allowing me to go to college without constantly worrying about money,” said Hobbs. She plans to complete her general education courses at TRC, and at this point, is thinking about becoming a dental hygienist.
“This means a lot to our family, especially since I have another daughter who will be going to college in a few years,” said Lamia Hobbs, Shelby’s mother.
Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit trcc.edu.