Mississippi State University is marking its fifth year of awarding national Tillman Military Scholarships.
The university is among of 16 institutions of higher learning designated as a partner for the key program of the Chicago, Ill.-based Pat Tillman Foundation.
For 2013-14, new scholar John C. Rawson is joining two returning scholars. A former corporal in the U.S. Marines, he receives an $8,000 scholarship.
Rawson graduated earlier this year with a bachelor's degree from MSU's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and now is pursuing an MSU master's degree in agriculture engineering technology. He is the son of John Rawson of Van Buren, Mo.  and Kim Rawson of Stevens Point, Wis. .
A memorial to the late U.S. Army Ranger and former NFL football player, the Pat Tillman Military Scholarships are designed to empower military veterans and spouses desiring to have a positive impact on their communities and country through their academic pursuits.
"Tillman Military Scholars at Mississippi State are among those students who are setting a positive example with their lives through service and continued patriotism as they pursue their educational goals," said Ken McRae. "We are immensely pleased that the Pat Tillman Foundation continues to honor his memory by awarding generous scholarships for students enrolled on MSU's veteran-friendly campus."
McRae directs MSU's G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery Center for America's Veterans that administers the campus Tillman Military Scholars program. The center has helped Mississippi State gain national ranking as a top Veteran-Friendly University.
Currently, veterans, current service members or their dependents make up more than 10 percent of the institution's enrollment.
The Pat Tillman Foundation was established by family and friends after the Army Ranger's death in 2004 while serving with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Eastern Afghanistan. From 1998-2001, he had been a starting safety for the Arizona Cardinals.
Since its creation, the Pat Tillman Foundation has awarded more than $9 million in educational support to 290 scholars at 85 universities nationwide.
"We're proud to award educational scholarships to enrich the lives of our nation's military veterans and their spouses," said Marie Tillman, president and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation.
"Through their studies, they are building on Pat's legacy of leadership and creating their own to impact and inspire our country for years to come," she added.
In addition to being affiliated with any branch of the U.S. armed forces, Tillman Military Scholar candidates 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.
The scholarships support the education of both veterans and their families, with amounts for the MSU class typically ranging from $2,000-$10,000 for an academic year.
The returning class of Tillman Military Scholars at MSU for 2013-14 includes (by hometown):
SILVER SPRING, Md. --Junior John W. Van Horn III, a geoscience/professional meteorology major in the College of Arts and Sciences. A former senior airman in the U.S. Air Force, he is receiving an $8,000 award.
STARKVILLE--Ryan N. Bear, a fourth-year doctor of veterinary medicine student, receiving $10,000. A former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot and the son of David and Janie Bear of Huntsville, Mo. , he is a 2001 cell and molecular biology graduate of Missouri State University.
Additional information about the Pat Tillman Foundation may be found at www.pattillmanfoundation.org.
For more information about Mississippi State University, see www.msstate.edu.