UAH announces Carol Perkins Memorial Scholarship for Elementary Education

Carol Perkins

Elementary Education Scholarship named in honor of Carol Perkins.

Image courtesy of Courtesy F.C. Boles

The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a part of The University of Alabama System, has announced the establishment of a non-endowed scholarship fund to be known as the Carol Perkins Memorial Scholarship for Elementary Education. The scholarship was created through a commitment of $200,000 by F. Clark Boles to benefit the UAH College of Education (CoEd) and to honor of the memory of his wife, the late Carol Perkins.

To establish the fund, the donor has made a gift of $20,000 as the first of ten annual payments in the same amount to be made on July 1 of each year through 2030. The fund will be used for scholarships to be awarded to junior or senior undergraduate CoEd students pursuing a degree in Elementary Education who demonstrate good character and financial need. Award recipients will be selected by the University's Financial Aid Committee with recommendations from the College of Education.

“I am very grateful for the generous gift provided by Mr. Boles,” says Dr. Beth Quick, Dean of the CoEd. “I am confident it will be instrumental in encouraging and supporting well-deserving students pursuing teacher certification in elementary education at UAH.”

Providing a gift for Elementary Education scholarships came as a natural decision for Boles as a way to memorialize a woman who was a lifelong teacher of third grade, fourth grade and preschool four-year-olds.

“I thought about Carol’s love for children and the impact she had on so many children and parents,” her husband explains. “Carol and her three sisters grew up in Marion, AL, where their father worked for Judson College. All four girls attended Judson and graduated to become teachers.”

Boles points to additional familial connections that helped inspire in him a love of learning. His mother was an elementary teacher in San Antonio, and several other relatives were also educators. “Carol and my mother got along famously since they both taught fourth grade. I’m reminded of that old saying when a person fails at something, they say, ‘Oh well, I can always teach!’ I know from experience, that’s not true! A good elementary teacher has to be an artist, janitor, nurse and hygienist, act silly at times, sing and, when needed, give ‘the stare of doom,’” he notes with a smile.

The Boles family has a connection to UAH as well: their youngest son, Todd F. Boles, graduated magna cum laude from UAH with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2007.

“When I left the University of Texas in 1968 and arrived in Huntsville, UAH was providing graduate courses to many of my fellow engineers during the Von Braun era,” Boles recalls. “Since then, I’ve watched UAH grow into a highly respected university. As a manager at Teledyne Brown Engineering, I found that hiring UAH graduates always paid off and, over the years, gave me some of my best engineers.”

The donor intends to support the scholarship fund both in life and later through a testamentary bequest to the Community Foundation of Huntsville with the recommendation that an annual gift be made from the earnings of the donors’ endowment to the University or the UAH Foundation.

“I had started a dialogue with Judson College about setting up a scholarship program,” Boles says. “But they announced in early 2021 that, due to COVID, Judson would be permanently closing after operating for 183 years! After searching other elementary education programs in the southeast, UAH came to the top of the list. Thanks to Mallie Hale’s help [UAH Vice President for University Advancement Executive Director of UAH Foundation], I was able to set up a similar program in elementary education at UAH and also was able to help my own local community. Rather than invest in ‘things,’ I’d rather invest in people.”

Boles is excited to know the Carol Perkins Memorial Scholarship for Elementary Education scholarships will help make a profound difference in the future lives of so many young people, not only for graduates who go on to become educators themselves, but in the lives of the students they will be charged with as well – the kind of gift that spreads out like ripples on a pond.

As a former public school elementary educator herself, Dean Quick agrees. “One cannot underestimate the powerful and lasting influence of an effective elementary educator. The UAH College of Education is committed to equipping caring, compassionate and competent educators who will make a profound and lasting impression on the students in their classrooms.”

“Don’t you remember one or more of your elementary school teachers?” Boles asks. “I’m indebted to a long list of incredible teachers that taught me how to think and left me with a thirst for knowledge. A good elementary teacher does this. And when you see that in children’s eyes, it’s magic! I saw this magic in Carol’s classrooms. Carol and I don’t have any grandchildren. I like to think of these future scholarship recipients and future elementary teachers as my foster grandchildren. My hope is that one or more of these teachers will turn out as amazing as Carol was. I miss her every day.”



Jennifer Brost

Russ Nelson