Officials from the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Development Foundation recently announced more than $36,500 was fundraised to endow a scholarship in memory of Lance Porterfield, a member of the NEO Rodeo Team. Porterfield, 19, died following an automobile accident November 26 while home on Thanksgiving break. He and three of his friends died in the wreck.
A freshman from Sparta, Missouri, Porterfield was attending NEO on a rodeo scholarship and studying to become an accountant. Although new to the college rodeo circuit, he remains in sixth place in the Central Plains Region. “Lance was an outstanding young man and a great competitor for the NEO Rodeo Team,” said Kolby Ungeheuer, NEO rodeo coach. “Lance had a great work ethic and was always striving to better himself academically and athletically.”
According to Ungeheuer, the scholarship in Porterfield’s memory will be very beneficial for NEO Rodeo Team members. Each year one high school senior will receive a two-year award of $3,000. The criterion for the scholarship includes first preference given to Missouri rodeo students with financial need and second preference given to other students involved in the agriculture program at NEO. The scholarship also requires a minimum 2.5 grade point average (GPA).
For the fall of 2015, a total of $9,000 in scholarships have been awarded in memory of Porterfield and include: $3,000 to Cheyanne Wheeler of Osceola, Missouri; $3,000 to Trey Crawford of Gainesville, Missouri; $1,500 to NEO freshman Clay Gulick of South Greenfield, Missouri; and $1,500 to NEO freshman Patrick Houchins of Frankford, Missouri. “NEO impacted Lance in many ways,” said Lance’s mother, Phyllis Porterfield. “He loved NEO so much he hardly ever wanted to come home. Being at NEO made him a more dedicated student. As a member of the rodeo team he worked harder at improving his roping ability and had set his goal at making the College Nationals.”
For the Porterfield family, establishing a scholarship in Lance’s memory was a way to help others succeed at a college he loved so dearly. “We wanted the scholarship to help a student who needs the assistance but also wants an education,” she added.
As an endowed scholarship, a portion of the money raised has been invested so interest from the fund can award scholarships for generations. “During a very difficult time the Porterfield family made a very compassionate and generous decision to help others by establishing a scholarship in Lance’s name,” said Jennifer Hessee, executive director of the NEO Development Foundation. “We received hundreds of donations from his family and friends which will benefit future NEO students for years to come.” For more information on the Lance Porterfield Scholarship or any other scholarship offered through the NEO Foundation, please contact Jennifer Hessee at 918-540-6250.