Snack Company President Establishes $100,000 Scholarship Fund at Jackson State

The scholarship fund will benefit five Jackson State University students majoring in education.
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Published on October 4, 2023
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  • The president of Mars Wrigley established a scholarship fund for education majors at Jackson State University.
  • He named the scholarship fund after his parents, who worked at the historically Black university for decades.
  • Education deans at Jackson State see the scholarship as a step in the right direction to help with the national teacher shortage.

A scholarship funded by Skittles? Not exactly. But the president of the snack company that makes them established a scholarship at Jackson State University — one of the nation's historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Anton Vincent, president of Mars Wrigley — the company behind M&Ms, Snickers, Skittles, and more — created the $100,000 scholarship fund, The Pearl and George Vincent Educational Excellence Scholarship, in his parents' names. Pearl and George Vincent worked at Jackson State for over 25 years.

Anton Vincent hopes this scholarship will help plenty of talented students who aspire to work in education.

My parents were lifelong educators, between them 88 years of educational leadership. Teaching students from early childhood all the way to Ph.D. students, Vincent said in a press release.

This scholarship is in honor of their commitment, leadership, and legacy in the educational field. I really want to offer talented students who are passionate about a career in education a chance. Investing in these students impacts all of society.

The $100,000 will cover five students' tuition, textbooks, supplies, and other educational costs. Undergraduate students enrolled at Jackson State full time and majoring in education are eligible to apply. Students must have 2.75 GPA or higher and must demonstrate a financial need to earn the scholarship. Applications open in Fall 2025, according to Jackson State.

This gift will enable students to fill the void left by public education funding cuts, minimize students' debts, support equitable outcomes, and expand students' networks, Jerri Haynes, Ed.D., dean of the College of Education and Human Development at Jackson State, told BestColleges.

Haynes said tuition is a common hurdle for most undergraduates — and students who need to make up the difference usually get jobs. This leads to less time for studying and more strain on them for the semester.

Education majors need as much time as possible, Haynes said, because their work continues after academics. Depending on the state, education majors need to get field hours and pass certifications before becoming an official teacher. The scholarship will ease the students' burdens of finding funds for school.

It will allow our students to spend more time on their academics and less time thinking about how they will pay for school, Haynes said. The contribution made by Mr. Vincent is transformative. We cannot say thank you enough for such a significant contribution to the future of education.

Tony Latiker is the associate dean of accreditation and assessment in Jackson State's College of Education and Human Development. He believes that becoming an educator is stepping into a noble profession.

Latiker told BestColleges that the scholarship is a step toward attacking the teacher shortage crisis going on. More students becoming educators means arriving closer to the solution to the national issue.

There is a critical teacher shortage, and underserved and underrepresented students are losing out on a quality education, Latiker said. We must fund scholarships to attract talented students. We want education majors to seek this scholarship to support their dreams and aspirations to become educators.

Vincent wants this scholarship fund to make an impact on students as big as his parents did at Jackson State University.

According to Vincent, the best reward as an educator is seeing the breakthroughs students make during learning. Pearl and George Vincent guided a lot of students to their breakthroughs. The snack president still hears thank yous to this day.

My parents loved educating students. They got no greater joy than seeing students break through and achieve, Vincent said in the press release.

I can't tell you how many times the thousands of students whom my parents taught enthusiastically say, your mom taught me or your dad taught me. My parents impacted lives every day. I look forward to my family helping to build more dedicated educators through this scholarship.