As longtime residents of the rural Texas town of Throckmorton, we understand the benefits students receive from a public school education. We also have a great appreciation for the leadership skills that students develop through various activities – especially those activities that require a significant commitment of time and effort such as the National FFA Organization.
We funded the McKnight Scholars Leadership Program Scholarship at Oklahoma State University to annually attract 50 of the best leaders from rural communities to Oklahoma State University. Both of our children were leaders during their high school years, during their time at OSU and have continued that path as adults. Our son Trent was National FFA president in 2000-01. We will forever remember the words of our daughter Meggan as she introduced Trent at the National FFA Convention. She stated: “Most people go throughout life without truly knowing what they believe. They go down the easy trail and choose the path of least resistance. But real leaders go where there is no trail and lead a path for others to follow.” Our goal with the McKnight scholarship is to attract students with leadership potential as exhibited by their high school activities to Oklahoma State University where they will be developed to become the ethical leaders who will help “lead a path for others to follow."
We are pleased to make this gift to our alma mater to help defray the cost of an education. Oklahoma State University means so much to both of us. In addition to receiving an excellent education, we also met at OSU. Without Oklahoma State, we would not be where we are today. As students from rural communities, we discovered the same welcoming and friendly environment at OSU that we had experienced back home. To this day, we are both grateful to Oklahoma State, and we remember fondly members of the faculty and administration who took an interest in us and challenged us to be more than we thought we could be.
This gift reflects our appreciation to OSU and also our desire to help students from rural communities attend OSU. Not only will these students find a path to success like we did at OSU, but they will also make a significant contribution to OSU while in school. OSU taught us to live with courage, work with pride, speak with honesty, and keep our promises. These are values instilled in rural students in their everyday life and values that will help them grow as the future leaders of our state and our country.
|Ross McKnight||Billie McKnight|