Attending Northwestern Oklahoma State University basketball games has kept Herb Niles, a 1954 graduate and season ticket holder, connected to the university for decades.
"I don't know how long we've had season tickets over there," he said while recalling witnessing more than 25 years of Ranger basketball in Percefull Fieldhouse with his family.
This year, he elevated his support of the program and tie to the university from consistent fan to scholarship donor. Niles endowed the Herb Niles Athletic Scholarship benefitting men's and women's basketball team members, supplementing his encouragement from the stands with backing in the classroom.
Niles always envisioned giving to benefit Northwestern students through his will, but the opportunity arose for him to make a difference during his lifetime.
"It was something I'd planned on doing," he said. "I'd already talked about it as far as a will was concerned. I thought this would at least get it started."
Niles said he looks forward to seeing the results of his investment—to seeing his gift in action on campus and on the court—and hopes the endowed basketball scholarship will assist a student-athlete in real need.
Originally from Cherokee, Niles chose nearby Northwestern for college. He packed up his things and moved into the dorm, but he was close enough to home to return to work on the weekends. He graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in 1954 with a degree in industrial education and a minor in math and earned his master's degree from Western State College of Colorado in Gunnison, Colo., in 1961. He worked as an industrial arts teacher, then as a math teacher, in Wichita, Kan., and later taught math in Cherokee before fully devoting his time to farming in 1974.
"We are thankful that Herb has made the decision to create a scholarship now as well as planning for something in his estate," said Skeeter Bird, Northwestern Foundation CEO. "We have too many individuals in our community that don't make such wise decisions and leave it up to the courts and federal government to decide the fate of their assets after they are gone. The decision to give now allows us a chance to honor him, and it also places money in a student's hands right when there is a tremendous need."
Full-time continuing students with a minimum 2.5 cumulative grade point average are eligible for the Herb Niles Athletic Scholarship. Applicants must be active members of the men's or women's basketball team and other campus organizations. The scholarship may be applied toward university-related expenses, such as tuition, fees, room, board or books.
For more information about investing in Northwestern students, call Bird at 580-327-8599 or email him at email@example.com.
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