Holigan Family Scholarship to Benefit Puxico Students at Southeast, Three Rivers


Harold and Hermena Holigan (far right and left, respectively) with current Southeast Missouri State University students.

Harold and Hermena (Parks) Holigan love their hometown of Puxico, Missouri, so much so that they have established the Holigan Family Scholarship so Puxico High School graduates can reach and achieve their higher education goals.

The ongoing, restricted scholarship was established through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation and the Three Rivers Endowment Trust and will be awarded to students who are graduates of Puxico High School with a 2.75 grade point average and are pursuing an undergraduate degree at Southeast Missouri State University or Three Rivers College. Additionally, the scholarship will support Puxico High School students in their junior and senior years who are enrolled in dual credit courses at Southeast or Three Rivers.

“The Holigans are fully committed to supporting their hometown of Puxico, and because of their amazing generosity, many Puxico High School graduates who wish to pursue a college degree or college credit classes can do so at no cost to their families,” said Dr. Trudy Lee, interim vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

Harold and Hermena grew up in Puxico and graduated from Puxico High School in 1959. After graduating, Harold attended Southeast Missouri State College for two years in pre-engineering and general studies before transferring to the University of Missouri-Columbia to complete a degree in electrical engineering. Hermena earned a Bachelor of Science in vocational home economics in 1963 from Southeast.

After a very successful career with AT&T, Harold started his own business, Just A Math Problem (JAMP) Enterprises, LLC, in 1982 in Dallas, Texas. Harold often references “Just a Math Problem” as his philosophy in approaching opportunities, addressing challenges and making decisions. JAMP focuses on the residential real estate market, including operations in manufactured housing, homebuilding, land development, land banking, property management and technology. The company has developed more than 100,000 residential lots, constructed more than 8,000 homes and built more than 60 manufactured home communities across the United States, including in Texas, Utah, Missouri, Florida, New Mexico, Michigan and Tennessee. Harold and Hermena are both members of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation President’s Council. They have three children, Michael and Sarah Holigan, both of Dallas, Texas, and Rebecca Smeltzer of Nashville, Tennessee.

Harold and Hermena Holigan were recently recognized during a reception at Puxico High School, where they were warmly received for their support of their home community.

Harold and Hermena Holigan with Puxico High School students currently enrolled in dual credit courses at Southeast and Three Rivers.

“This opportunity opened the door for many of our students to begin their college education while still in high school,” said Cindy Crabb, superintendent of Puxico R-8 School District. “Before this scholarship was available, we would normally have six to eight students who could afford to pay for dual credit courses. The first semester we offered the scholarship, that enrollment soared to 32 students.”

The scholarship is an opportunity for them to give back to their hometown community, Harold said.

“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community of Puxico,” he said. “It’s a great community and one that helped and supported us tremendously when we needed it. We want to help Puxico any way we can. We want to give every person the opportunity to earn a college education and continue to make Puxico a place that people want to be from and live in. We hope this program can make a difference and last beyond us.”

The Holigan Family Scholarship will allow students like Caleb Swallows, a junior social studies education major at Southeast, to focus on his academic and personal goals.

“Having Mr. and Mrs. Holigan stepping in to take care of this community and supporting us is a big deal,” Swallows said. “Because of their help, I’ll be able to graduate pretty much debt free.”

Harold and Hermena Holigan with Southeast student Caleb Swallows and his mother, Amy.

For Easton McLain, a freshman accounting major at Southeast, the scholarship provides additional support to be a full-time student and pursue his academic goals.

“Because of this scholarship, I can go to Southeast’s main campus in Cape Girardeau and be able to have a full college experience and access to more opportunities,” he said.

The Holigans’ continued support of the local community is an inspiration, added Swallows, who is currently completing his student teaching requirements at Puxico High School.

“The goal for me is to come back here and teach full time,” he said. “I love the school district. There’s something special about this school and community.”

The Holigan Family Scholarship will be awarded to graduates of Puxico High School who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at Southeast’s main or regional campuses in Sikeston or Kennett, a Southeast delivery site or via Southeast Online. Recipients may either be traditional students entering their freshman year at Southeast or transfer students from Three Rivers College who previously received the Holigan Scholarship. The award will cover any unmet need after institutional scholarships and grants are applied to cover students’ tuition, fees, books and supplies. Students must be enrolled full time and maintain a 3.0 grade point average in college to maintain the scholarship. The scholarship may be renewed for at least two years.