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Austins Give Financial Gift, Start Two New Scholarships

Alumni, News
Austin scholarships signing
Shown (l to r) are Vice President for University Relations Dr. Brad Moffett, Aric and Stephanie Austin, Wanda and Robert Clemons, and Carolyn Carroll.

Aric and Stephanie Austin, Lee University alumni, recently donated funds to the school to create two new scholarships, the Lloyd and Leila Austin Memorial Scholarship and the Robert and Wanda Clemons Scholarship, in honor of their parents. 

“The generosity of the Austins will provide funds for Lee students for many generations to come,” said Dr. Brad Moffett, vice president for University Relations. “It is a great way to honor both sets of their parents, and I am grateful for their giving.” 

The Austins’ gift will be divided equally between the two scholarships, both of which will be awarded for the spring semester of 2024 and the full academic year of 2024-2025. 

“We want to honor the legacy of my parents’ life of ministry and education,” said Aric Austin. “Lee University, being the training ground for the next generation, is the best place to make a lasting and eternal impact.” 

Lloyd Austin, son of a Church of God pastor, served a term in the U.S. Airforce before meeting his wife, Lelia. Lloyd ministered with the Church of God for 52 years and obtained a Master of Arts in Church Ministries from the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee. In his retirement, he taught religion and ethics courses for a local college. Lelia was a life-long educator, teaching high school English and business, vocational and college courses, and Sunday school. When they retired to Florida, they became active in Destiny Community Church, serving on council and as the seniors’ pastor. They were married for 53 years, and both of their sons, Lindell and Aric, attended Lee. 

Preference for receipt of the Lloyd and Leila Austin Memorial Scholarship will be given to descendants of Lloyd and Leila Austin, students from Destiny Community Church in Newberry, Florida, and students majoring in ministry or education. 

Robert and Wanda Clemons, as a young married couple with two children, made the move to Cleveland, Tennessee, to pursue higher education and biblical training at Lee. Robert studied accounting, and after their first year in Cleveland, Wanda began her studies in elementary education, making her the first to attend college in her family. Both were active at North Cleveland Church of God, serving in the church’s bus ministry and in local nursing homes. After graduation, they continued their service at their local church in Florida by teaching Sunday School and serving in various other lay ministry roles. Wanda was a teacher for over 30 years, and she and Robert continued to mentor young families in their retirement. Stephanie Austin’s fond memories from her families’ time at Lee played a role in her decision to attend. 

“We want to honor the bravery and resolve demonstrated by my parents to pursue an education despite difficult odds,” said Stephanie Austin. “We hope this scholarship will inspire and provide financial assistance to married students or first-generation college students as they strive to make a better life for themselves and their families as they go on to make a positive and eternal impact in their world.” 

For the Robert and Wanda Clemons Scholarship, preference will be given to descendants of Robert and Wanda Clemons, married students, and first-generation college students. 

For more information about the scholarships, email Lee’s Financial Aid Office at finaid@leeuniversity.edu or call (423) 614-8300. 

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