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Mescon Family Establishes Scholarship in Daughter's Memory

Michael and Enid MesconMichael and Enid Mescon don't spend much time boasting of their own accomplishments. They'd rather save their pride and accolades for the people and things important to them. Their family, obviously, is one. And anyone who knows them can guess that Georgia State is another.

Their planned gift that created the Nance Lu Mescon Scholarship is the story of those two great loves coming together. It is inspired by a family tragedy, but also by a belief that Georgia State students have the power to keep that kind of tragedy from happening to others.

Family Roots
Michael joined the Georgia State faculty in 1956 as an assistant professor making $5,600 a year. "I thought I'd been handed the keys to Fort Knox," he says. He then became dean of the business school in 1985.

Meanwhile, Enid was earning a master's degree and a certification in gerontology. With such strong ties to the university, their children also began to think of Georgia State as home.

"Our children grew up at Georgia State, running up and down the ramps at Kell Hall," Enid says with a smile.

Eating Disorder Eats Away at Middle Child
Among her devotion to family and her wide range of interests, middle child Nance Lu seemed to lead a perfectly happy and normal life. Looking back, though, her parents suspect she began struggling with anorexia as a teenager.

Like many people battling eating disorders, Nance Lu did a good job of hiding her inner turmoil and unhealthy habits, but on July 29, 2011, she passed away at the age of 54, leaving behind two grown children.

A Scholarship for Research
Eating disorders are a shockingly prevalent problem—as many as 24 million Americans currently may be suffering from one—and they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

When the Mescons decided to endow a scholarship in their daughter's name, it was Nance's son Ilya who suggested a purpose: funding the studies of students researching eating disorders from a policy or intervention perspective.

Michael and Enid endowed the Nance Lu Mescon Scholarship at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies last spring.

"One of the first two Mescon Scholars did a wonderful bibliography on all the materials she could find on bulimia and anorexia," Enid says. "The other one got a scholarship to get her master's degree in Tennessee. It's so heartening to see these scholarships already paying off for students who might be able to make a difference."

Strengthening the Bond
Endowing the Nance Lu Mescon Scholarship has only strengthened the bonds between the Mescon family and the university. It's more than just the pride of being a student or faculty member; Enid says it's the emotional pull of watching knowledge change people's lives.

"We attended one of the graduation ceremonies recently, and I sat next to a family who was there to watch one of their children graduate," Enid says. "That was the first person in their family to go to college, ever. They were crying, and before long I was crying, too! It was a beautiful moment. That's the power that this school has. And that's what Georgia State means to us."

Make Your Lasting Gift
If you're interested in endowing your own gift to Georgia State University, please contact Wendell Clark at 404-413-3425 or giftplanning@gsu.edu for more information.

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