Kerry Garland was a promising journalist at The Shreveport Times in the early 1980s. He was well known in the community and equally well respected. It was that notoriety and respect that prompted officials at the International Paper Company to approach him about a position in their public relations organization. While driving on Louisiana Highway 1 in 1983, his car was hit head-on by a vehicle driven by a drunk driver. He died instantly.
The local journalism and public relations communities were stunned by the tragic death of a beloved colleague and serious discussion of a memorial in his name monopolized meetings of the Shreveport Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi – later to be renamed the Society of Professional Journalists.
The national charter of “SDX” prohibited chapters from accepting donations for such things as scholarships and memorials in the names of individuals. The Shreveport Chapter was advised that a separate foundation would have to be established if the project was to be pursued.
So it was that the Shreveport Journalism Foundation was chartered as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of Louisiana in 1984, and sought and was granted 501(c)(3) status recognition by the Internal Revenue Service in 1985. The original purpose of the Foundation, formed as an arm of the Shreveport Chapter of SDX, was to establish the Kerry Garland Memorial Scholarship.
Since then, the mission of the Foundation has been expanded to read, “Dedicated to excellence in journalism through scholarships and professional development,” and the Foundation itself has become an independent organization representing the journalism, public relations mass communications, and journalism education communities.
The Garland Scholarship has been increased from its original $500 in 1987 to $1,000 today, and a second $1,000 scholarship was added in 1991 in memory of local radio, television and print journalist Orland Dodson. Dodson, who was a veteran of broadcast and print journalism, was a Times columnist and business editor who died in May 1987. He established The Times’ business desk.”
The Garland Scholarship is awarded annually to a college junior or senior majoring in journalism or public relations while Dodson Scholarship annual recipients must be college juniors or seniors majoring in journalism. If your school does not offer a degree in either of those fields, a mass communications degree will suffice for both scholarships. However, a mass comm major wanting to pursue a career in public relations should apply for the Garland Scholarship. Recipients of both scholarships must either have a permanent address within a 100-mile radius of downtown Shreveport, LA, or attend a school within that 100-mile radius.
Over the years, the two scholarships have been awarded to students at LSUS, Centenary College of Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LSU A&M in Baton Rouge, The University of Texas at Tyler, and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, TX.
-Based on a 2004 Research Paper submitted by Gregg Trusty for the Master of Science in Human Services Administration program at LSUS. From the paragraph “Foundation Created in Response to Tragic Death”