Donors recognized at annual Scholarship Brunch

TROY was once again able to award over $1 million in scholarships thanks to generous donors.

TROY was once again able to award over $1 million in scholarships thanks to generous donors.

Scholarship donors to Troy University were recognized and thanked at the annual Fred B. Davis Scholarship Brunch on Saturday, April 6. 

There are currently more than 350 active named scholarship funds for the Troy Foundation with some scholarships being awarded to multiple students each year. In 2023, TROY was again able to award over $1 million in Foundation scholarships, like the Owen Wayne Lewis Memorial Scholarship for first-generation college students and the Samuel A. “Sam” Boyd Endowed Scholarship for members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Nearly 1,200 individual scholarships were awarded in the last year.

The Owen Wayne Lewis Memorial Scholarship was started in 2022 after TROY professors Drs. Onick and Heather Lewis lost their son, Owen. The scholarship is aimed at first-generation college students studying social work, human services or hospitality, tourism, and event management. In addition to the scholarship, the couple also launched O’s Cool Bike Foundation to collect balance bikes and helmets for children in three surrounding counties.

Avery Zubaly, a senior hospitality management major from Tallahassee, Fla., is a recipient of the Lewis’ generosity, and she also served as Student Director for the inaugural O’s Cool Bike Ride.

“Both Onik and Heather are two professors who truly care for their students, both personally and academically. I have had the honor of being one of those students,” she said. “When beginning my college career a little over four years ago, I wanted to find my purpose. Dr. Heather Lewis has certainly helped me achieve that. I love serving others and I love helping people—this is exactly why I chose my career path in hospitality.

A group photo with William Filmore, student Avery Zubaly, Drs. Heather and Onik Lewis, their children and Chancellor Hawkins.
The Owen Wayne Lewis Memorial Scholarship was started in 2022 by Drs. Heather and Onik Lewis.

“To both Onik and Heather Lewis, I want to thank you for letting me be a part of this wonderful foundation.”

Another large supporter of the Troy Foundation is the Alumni Association made up of 69 chapters. More than 10 chapters have established endowed scholarships, with additional scholarships in progress.

This year, the Alumni Association Board of Directors and alumni chapters banded together and raised $57,328.88 in support of scholarships and academic initiatives.

“These scholarships have been created to honor individuals or groups, or to remember those who have passed away. The funding of those scholarships may have been a large contribution, but many scholarships have been funded with smaller donations—including the $2 you can add to your annual alumni dues,” said Rosemary Elebash, President of the Alumni Board of Directors. 

“To the givers—you have provided optimism and encouragement, and you’ve inspired not only the recipient but their family and friends with your generosity,” she added. “To the recipients—your responsibility is to follow your passion. Complete your classroom education, but never stop learning. Even if you fail, it will lead to something better.”

Students who received specific foundation scholarships through the university write thank-you cards to the donors when they receive the scholarship initially, but the brunch allows donors to put a face with a name and see the impact their scholarships make firsthand.

For more information on ways to assist students through scholarships or other academic support, contact the Office of Development.

To apply for a scholarship, visit

A photo gallery from the brunch can be found here.