Sisters establish endowment to honor parents’ memory and support Eagle Assistance Grant
Elizabeth Hendrix, ’64 administration and supervision, and Sybil Hendrix Fagan, ’65 elementary education, established the John and Anne Hendrix Tennessee Tech Assistance Endowment in memory of their parents—two people whose opportunity to pursue higher education after high school was limited, yet they valued education and made sure their daughters could attend Tennessee Tech.
John and Anne Hendrix supported Tech for many years and gave to a number of areas on campus but specifically focused their generosity on Athletics and the School of Agriculture. When John passed away, Anne, Elizabeth, and Sybil established the John P. Hendrix Agriculture Scholarship in his memory, and because of John and Anne’s generous support of Tech’s basketball program, friends of the Hendrix family established the John P. Hendrix Basketball Leadership Award in his memory as well. When Anne passed away, Elizabeth and Sybil renamed the scholarships to include both of their parents’ names. Now, the sisters have gone one step further in preserving their parents’ legacy and carrying forward their belief in helping others.
“We’ve always had a special fondness for Tennessee Tech,” said Elizabeth and Sybil. “In many ways, it was a part of our lives from the time we moved to Cookeville in 1952, because we lived on Dixie Avenue just north of the campus. We drove through and/or by the university on a daily basis. In addition, many faculty members were friends/neighbors/acquaintances of our family through organizations, church, and the Farm Bureau Insurance Company where our father worked.”
The sisters also say their Tech education and education degrees served them well. Elizabeth taught math for 30 years in Maryland, Colorado, and Tennessee, and Sybil taught elementary education for 27 years in Kentucky and Tennessee.
“Our time at Tech, the people we met, and the professors we had in class all helped prepare us for life and for our careers,” they said. “We have been blessed in many ways.”
Elizabeth and Sybil had been wanting to make a gift to an area in need for some time to honor their parents. After receiving a letter from President Phil Oldham in Spring 2019 concerning students facing financial hardships that could jeopardize the completion of a degree, they recognized this was the right fit.
“We knew our parents would think this a worthy investment,” they explained. “They didn’t have the resources to continue their education beyond high school. We agree with President Oldham that no student should have to leave Tech because of financial concerns. This endowment will benefit the very students that our parents would want to help and also reflect some of their values: hardworking, industrious, and an ongoing desire for learning.”
The John and Anne Hendrix Assistance Endowment is modeled after and inspired by the Eagle Assistance Grant (EAG), a safety net for students in emergency situations. The EAG was established in the spring of 2019 through the “I Heart Tech Students” faculty and staff giving campaign and Tech’s first-ever digital Day of Giving. The EAG is a hardship grant that provides emergency need-based funds that can be applied towards any financial hardship jeopardizing a student’s degree.
On December 3, Tech will participate in Giving Tuesday, a global movement powered by social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving each year, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-the year giving. Tech’s 2019 Giving Tuesday will focus on the EAG, and Tech alumni and friends will have the opportunity to support students in need, just like Elizabeth and Sybil chose to do. The sisters hope their gift will inspire others.
“Financial constraints kept our parents from completing the next level of education,” they said. “Hopefully, the Eagle Assistance Grant will provide aid for students who face unexpected hardships and expenses and help them realize their goal of a college education.”