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In 1957, 14-year-old Robert A. Holmes '64, was one of four students to integrate Shepherdstown High School. In January 2009, Bob, now 66, retired after 17 consecutive terms from the Georgia General Assembly, where he sponsored or co-sponsored more than 200 laws that were enacted, became the first African-American to serve on the General Assembly's Budget Subcommittee, and served as chair of the largest Legislative Black Caucus in the United States.
At Shepherd, he was a Storer College Scholarship award recipient, involved with the Student Senate, and became president of the International Relations Club. After graduation, he went on to earn his M.S. in public law and government, and received his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University at the age of 25.
He established the Robert A. Holmes Endowed Scholarship Fund in order to provide financial assistance to Shepherd University students who share the ideals of public service. The Holmes scholars are political science majors with a minimum 3.2 GPA with the intention to pursue a career goal of teaching at the college level or working in government who engage in life experiences that will contribute to a racially diverse student body.
"Scholarships and financial assistance make it possible for more minorities to pursue studies in this field and subsequently emerge in government leadership positions where their influence can be felt," said Bob. He hopes his campaign gift to increase the Holmes endowment to Shepherd will stimulate students' interest in contributing to society through public service in order to positively impact the lives of others.
Holmes Scholarship recipient Brian Cham Henry hopes to become a pastoral counselor and recognizes the lasting impact being awarded this scholarship will have on him, noting, "I realize there are people out there willing to contribute and help others. This makes me want to be successful so that one day I will be able to do the same for someone else."