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Winthrop Alumna Establishes Scholarship for First-Generation College Students

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 The Callahan Family First-Generation Endowed Scholarship will support first-gen Winthrop students.
 Marty Callahan Grigsby '63 was the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Marty Callahan
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – Encouragement from a high school history teacher helped donor Marty Callahan Grigsby ’63 become the first college graduate in her family. Now she has committed $250,000 in a planned gift to help future first-generation students realize their dream of a college degree at Winthrop University.

Established through a bequest, the Callahan Family First-Generation Endowed Scholarship will support first-generation Winthrop students.

Grigsby explained that her Winthrop degree, a B.A. in Spanish, led her to fulfilling careers in teaching and higher education administration – and she wants to make those opportunities available to today’s first-generation students.

“My life has been wonderful, and much of that is because I received a college education. So many more doors opened for me,” said Grigsby. “I want to help students who are in a similar situation and need financial support to obtain their degrees.”

Raised in Piedmont, South Carolina, Grigsby believed that a college degree was out of reach. Her history teacher, Parniece Brown Allen, however, had other plans – she pushed Grigsby to apply to Winthrop and even helped raise funds to pay for her first semester. After graduation, Grigsby taught Spanish and English for 10 years, then earned her M.Ed. at the University of South Carolina, eventually retiring as vice president of development for Midlands Technical College.

She has stayed involved with her alma mater, serving on the Alumni Reunion Committee. She also has served on the Alumni Executive Board. In November 2013, she received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award for her service to Winthrop.

Grigsby said she hopes the Callahan Family First-Generation Endowed Scholarship will inspire others to support first-generation students because the Winthrop experience is transformative.

“Winthrop really did change my outlook and my life,” she said.

Winthrop President Dan Mahony expressed his appreciation of Grigsby’s generosity and noted that the fund will be a valuable tool for first-generation students who need financial assistance to complete their degrees.

“The Callahan Scholarship is another key investment in Winthrop that allows us to continue offering a strong network of support for first-generation college students who work diligently to earn a degree. We are very grateful for supporters like Marty Grigsby who draw on their own life experiences as inspiration to provide crucial financial support for others in similar circumstances,” said Mahony.

For more information, contact Meredith Carter, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or email her at

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