The League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County has created the Mary Foye Huhta Scholarship for eligible students in the MTSU College of Liberal Arts.
A special reception held earlier this fall celebrated the recent endowment of the Mary Foye Huhta Scholarship to honor the late MTSU supporter and former Murfreesboro City Council member.
The College of Liberal Arts decided to partner with the League of Women Voters to develop a scholarship for students within the college who've shown interest in government, civic engagement and local politics. The college plans to award the first scholarship in spring 2018.
Family and close friends gathered at the residence of Dr. Jean Anne Rogers in mid-October to commemorate what was only an idea this time last year. Now Huhta's legacy will be passed on to aspiring students seeking to improve their communities.
"She (Huhta) was a huge advocate for doing what's right; she was concerned and loved her community and also passionate for good government," said Rogers, a local optometrist.
"I hope the person who wins this scholarship could live up to her name and give back to the community ... I think to receive something, it would make you want to give back."
Meredith Kerr, development director for College of Liberal Arts, lauded the league for playing "a tremendous role in making (the scholarship) happen."
The scholarship honors and recognizes the numerous civic contributions Huhta made to the Murfreesboro community before she was tragically killed in her Florida condominium in 2016.
In 1965, she joined the League of Women Voters shortly after moving to Murfreesboro. The nonpartisan organization, formed locally in 1957, encourages active participation of all citizens in government.
"She strived to make people be the best that they could be," Rogers said. "Leading by example, she walked the walk and talked the talk."
Huhta would go on to become the first woman elected to the City Council and during her time there served as finance chair, vice president and president.
"She was a mentor and a friend to many, me included," Rogers said. "Whoever wins (the scholarship) will have big shoes to fill."
Kerr said the scholarship is meant to help recipients with living expenses or other financial responsibilities in order to keep them on track with their educations.
"When you're looking at internship expenses ... that money will really help so many students because some of them are unable to work, so this helps offset the cost of that," Kerr said.
Rogers noted that endowing the scholarship took a communitywide fundraising effort. Donors such as Huhta's daughters, Becky Huhta Duke and Suzanne Huhta Payson, played an integral part in making it happen, she said.
Students interested in applying for the scholarship should contact the MTSU College of Liberal Arts at 615-898-5986.