STARKVILLE, Miss.--For the fourth consecutive year, Mississippi State is awarding national Tillman Military Scholarships as one of 14 campuses across the nation designated as a university partner for the program by the Pat Tillman Foundation.
Two students at the university join five previously enrolled as 2012-13 selections for the academic awards created in memory of Pat Tillman, the late U.S. Army Ranger and former NFL football player.
Each receiving $8,000 awards, the new scholars are Karen F. Pearson of Starkville and John W. Van Horn III of Silver Spring, Md. .
Pearson is a fourth-year doctor of veterinary medicine student in the College of Veterinary Medicine; Van Horn, a junior geoscience/professional meteorology major in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"We are exceptionally pleased the Pat Tillman Foundation continues to honor his memory by awarding generous scholarships for students enrolled on Mississippi State's veteran-friendly campus," said Ken McRae. "These students are among those who are setting a positive example with their lives through service and continued patriotism as they pursue their educational goals."
McRae directs MSU's G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans that administers the campus Tillman Military Scholars program.
Since 2009, MSU has awarded Tillman Military Scholarships, having been among the inaugural group of U.S. institutions of higher education chosen to participate in the program.
The scholarships support the educations of both veterans and their families. Amounts for the MSU group typically vary between $2,000 and $10,000 for an academic year.
Tillman Military Scholar candidates may be affiliated with any U.S. Armed Forces branch. Those selected must be enrolled fulltime, maintain a 3.0 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) and demonstrate financial need, among other criteria. Scholars also are required to perform a public service of choice and report that service to the Tillman community.
Tillman was a 1998-2001 starting safety with the Arizona Cardinals. In mid-2002, he placed his professional football career on hold to become an Army Ranger. Two years later, the San Jose, Calif., native was killed on active duty in Eastern Afghanistan.
Following his death in 2004, the Arizona-based Pat Tillman Foundation was created by family and friends. Over the past four years, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million in scholarship funds to freshmen, undergraduate and Ph.D. candidates across the nation.
"The Tillman Military Scholars program and associated funds are a ready source of assistance for schools like Mississippi State which have strong veterans' programs for our returning service men and women and their dependents who wish to start, finish or further their education," said Hunter I. Riley, Pat Tillman Foundation program director. "We are extremely proud that MSU recipients devote the time to take part in beneficial activities organized by the Pat Tillman Foundation and also volunteer in the local areas."
MSU's Montgomery Center for America's Veterans has gained a national reputation for work with current and former military personnel and organizations. Its Tillman Military Scholars are among more than 2,000 student veterans, service members, dependents, and survivors currently enrolled.
The returning class of MSU Tillman Military Scholars for 2012-13 includes (by hometown):
CLINTON--Patricia A. Pohlhaus, a senior special education major and the daughter of Jackie Moody. She is receiving an $8,000 award, and her activities include being a member of the university's Famous Maroon Band.
FLOWOOD--Samantha B. Hill, a senior communication/public relations major and the daughter of Terry and Geraldine Hill. She was among the inaugural group of Tillman Military Scholars in 2009 and is now receiving a $10,000 award. She was an honor graduate of Northwest Rankin High School.
PRAIRIE--Senior Janice L. Cunningham, a biological engineering/biomedical engineering major and the daughter of Alexander and Monika Cunningham of Zwibruecken, Germany. Valedictorian of her 2010 high school graduating class, she is a member of the campus chapters of the National and German National honor societies. Her award is $7,000.
STARKVILLE--Ryan N. Bear, a third year doctor of veterinary medicine student is receiving $10,0000. He is the son of Janie and David Bear of Huntsville, Mo.  A 2001 Missouri State University cell and molecular biology graduate, he is a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot.
TUPELO--Catherine C. Turner, a senior political science/pre-law major and the daughter of James and Cathy Turner. She was among the inaugural group of Tillman Military Scholar in 2009 and is now receiving a $10,000 award. She also is an ACT scholar.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.