Friday, March 25, 2011

TOP STORY > >Family starts ASU scholarships

Cathy Eoff of Eoff and Associates Realty has established the Eoff Family Scholarships at Arkansas State University at Beebe and ASU at Jonesboro. The endowment is a memorial to her family, who taught her the importance of hard work and education.

“My parents and their generation inspired me to establish this scholarship. I want to pass on the lessons and encouragement, in the form of this scholarship, to students at ASU-Beebe and ASU-Jonesboro,” Eoff said.

Life in the Delta was hard in the early part of the 20th Century. Mechanized agriculture was a few years down the road. The Great Flood of 1927 was a major setback to many families, and then the Great Depression hit.

Ben T. Eoff and his wife Edith came from large families. Originally from Morrilton, Ben was one of eight children whose family moved from Pope County to the Delta during the Depression. Edith was one of 11 children who grew up as a part of a farm family in the Mississippi County community of Lost Cane.

The couple married in 1940 and opened a general-merchandise store in Lost Cane. When World War II erupted, Ben left on a tour of duty to Germany and then on to the Philippines, returning home with a Bronze Star.

Eoff’s father died at the age of 47, leaving her mother to run the family farm. “My father wanted us to finish our education. He always told me that education was something that can never be taken away,” Eoff said.

She and her brother Rick followed their parents’ advice and attended Arkansas State University; he graduated with an agriculture degree in 1969. After three years at ASU, Eoff finished her degree work in central Arkansas.

The brother and sister became teachers—he at Blytheville, she at Jacksonville—before moving on to other occupations. Rick built a career as a successful lobbyist, first in Florida, and then in Little Rock for the Arkansas Education Association, and worked for President Bill Clinton, while Cathy moved to Beebe, where she owns a successful insurance and real estate business.

“I have lived in Beebe since 1975, and the community has always been good to me,” Eoff said. “ASU-Beebe is the center of Beebe and a great benefit and growth opportunity to the community. ASU-Beebe does a great job of educating people from all areas.”

When not working at her business, Eoff is an active volunteer. She is on the board for Centennial Bank and on the Foundation Board at ASU-Jonesboro.

Eoff has been a dedicated member of the Development Council at ASU-Beebe since its inception in 1997.

She was recently inducted into the Daughters of the American Revolution, where she hopes to donate her time in the near future. She loves singing in the choir at First Baptist Church of Beebe.

“Cathy Eoff has been a tremendous supporter of Arkansas State University-Beebe and education as a whole. This scholarship will allow students an opportunity that they may never have had without this type of financial support. We are truly blessed to have friends like Cathy,” said Keith Pinchback, vice chancellor of Institutional Advancement at ASU-Beebe.

She also is a large part of her nieces’ lives, Christina and Heather. Christina is a senior at UCA in Conway with Heather being a freshman at Central High in Little Rock.

Following the death of her brother in 1997 and her mother in 2005, Cathy Eoff said she wanted to do something that would make a difference in the lives of others.

Her family’s love for learning prompted her to create the Eoff Family Scholarships at ASU-Beebe and ASU-Jonesboro to benefit future teachers.

“I hope these scholarships help students accomplish goals that might not have otherwise been possible. My family would be very happy this is being used to help someone else’s education,” Eoff said.

For more information about establishing an ASU-Beebe scholarship or contributing to an existing scholarship, contact the ASU-Beebe Office of Institutional Advancement at 501-882-8855.