Col. Charles E. McGee Scholarship for Columbia College student veterans

$1,000 award honors living national treasure, Tuskegee Airman Col. Charles E. McGee.

The Col. Charles E. McGee Scholarship, an annual $1,000 award to an undergraduate or graduate Columbia College student classified as a veteran or dependent of a veteran, is now open to applicants.

“We are honored to be able to offer this financial aid to a student veteran with funds set forth by Col. McGee and many other generous contributors,” said Ramona McAfee, assistant dean for military services. “This scholarship not only recognizes the efforts of a worthy student veteran but embodies the spirit and courage of Col. McGee.”

The inaugural recipient was ROTC Air Force cadet Patrick Hatcher, a young man trying to juggle family, work and academic obligations as he studied for a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. McGee presented the $1,000 annual scholarship to Hatcher in person at the college's Military Recognition Day in May 2010.

The award was established in 2010 to honor McGee, a 1978 Columbia College graduate and Tuskegee Airman. The Airmen were the first African Americans to fly fighter planes in combat during World War II. Their courage and heroism helped shatter stereotypes and speeded the U.S. military's full integration. In 2007, President Bush awarded McGee the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, the nation's highest civilian award.

Mike Randerson, vice president for Adult Higher Education and himself a retired Air Force colonel, was one of the scholarship's trailblazers. "Col. McGee is just an amazing man," said Randerson. "I think he's the perfect candidate to represent the military students of Columbia College. I can’t think of a single more worthy individual."

An essay of up to 500 words describing the applicant's personal circumstances and how education is, has or is expected to make a difference in their lives must accompany the application. Applications must be received by Feb. 28, 2011. For more information, go to

For more on McGee's amazing journey, go to: