John A. ‘Jack’ Behrens Memorial Scholarship Established


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., March 14, 2014 – The John A. “Jack” Behrens Memorial Scholarship has been established through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation.

2014_Ath_BasketballThe Behrens family of Round Rock, Texas, made a $7,500 gift to establish the scholarship. Their gift will be matched with an additional $7,500 match through a University matching gift program.

The matching gift program is part of the Honoring Tradition – Inspiring Success Comprehensive Campaign through the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. This program allowed donors to make a minimum commitment of $5,000 to a maximum commitment of $10,000 through donation or pledge by March 1, 2014, that qualified for a $1-for-$1 match. The goal of the Campaign is to raise $40 million for student scholarships, academic programs and renovations that benefit students both today and tomorrow.

The renewable John A. “Jack” Behrens Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a student with a minimum 2.0 grade point average who is currently enrolled at the University in the College of Education. First preference will be given to an intercollegiate student athlete majoring in education. Second preference will be given to any education major if a student athlete does not meet the criteria. The Athletic Scholarship Committee will select the recipient.

Jack Behrens was a man universally respected and liked by all who met him; spent time with him through school, work, or charitable activities; became friends with him; traveled with him; served in the U.S. Marines with him; played sports with him or attended church with him. He was born in 1922 in Cape Girardeau. Behrens had a unique talent for listening to people and enjoying good conversations about any subject. He had a keen interest in people and took time to really get to know each person he encountered. He enjoyed discovering their goals and passions, and, where possible, would work to help someone succeed.

Behrens spent all of his adult life in education as a teacher, counselor, university student teacher coordinator and university recruiter, and ended his career as director of admissions at Southeast. He respected education as the way for individuals to grow, learn and succeed in their life’s vocation.

He earned a Bachelor of Science in history from Southeast in 1946 and a master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1955. He was a member of Southeast’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Sports played a huge role in Behrens’ life. He played all sports growing up in Cape Girardeau, enjoyed the team camaraderie and made life-long friends from many of his teammates in both high school and college. Basketball became his favorite game. Hearing him talk about the NAIA National Championship game was a lesson in how to be a true teammate.

While he did make the winning shot for Southeast’s 1943 National Championship, he was always humble and rarely mentioned his role in the win. He talked about the coaching, his teammates’ play and how the game was low scoring, mostly defense oriented.

Behrens was a huge fan of NCAA “March Madness” and loved to participate in picking brackets during the tournament. His assessment of the game was enhanced by his many years of refereeing games in the St. Louis area. Watching Cardinals baseball was also a pleasure as Behrens played baseball and had a brief career playing in the minor leagues in St. Louis.

Family and friends were always the primary focus in his life. He was a loving husband for 64 years to his wife Charlotte Behrens. They enjoyed doing many things together, traveling all over the United States and, after retirement, heading to Florida during the winter months. Both his children, Spann and Barb, know they were blessed to call him “Dad.” He was a wonderful father who loved and supported his children completely.

Behrens also enjoyed his grandchildren, providing lots of fun, especially during visits down on the farm outside of Cape Girardeau. He was grateful to get to know three great-granddaughters who loved him very much. His unique interest in people, his kindness, gentle spirit, dry sense of humor, great smile, quiet faith and genuine friendship are an amazing legacy left to all who knew him personally and those who will only know him through stories. Behrens died in December 2013 in Round Rock, Texas.

For additional information on the matching gift program, please contact the Southeast Missouri University Foundation at (573) 651-2203 or