The Carnesha Nelson Memorial Scholarship in the School of Applied Sciences will pay tribute to the ambition and dreams of its namesake by providing students with the opportunity to pursue an education and accomplish great things through service to others.
Nelson’s life was tragically cut short in 2004 after her sophomore year at the University of Mississippi. She had been an honor student at Moss Point High School and had continued to achieve academic excellence in her collegiate career. A criminal justice major, she had earned the Griffin Award for Perseverance as part of UM’s Steps to Success program, which required a high GPA and commitment.
After Nelson passed away, her parents and family friends provided the initial gifts to begin a scholarship fund in her name. Today, her classmates and friends are leading the effort to build on the Carnesha Nelson Memorial Scholarship and celebrate her life and impact at the university she loved.
“Funding this scholarship is a way for many of us who loved her, appreciated her and respected her to remember her,” said Raymond Wade (BA 06, MA 08), a childhood friend of Nelson’s who was her classmate from elementary school through Ole Miss. “There are many other students who come to Ole Miss with aspirations such as hers. Due to her untimely passing, she was unable to reach the goals she set for herself.
“I firmly believe that having the scholarship available at the university will provide others like Carnesha the opportunity to get the education that they desire, to go on and do great things and to serve others as she wanted to do,” he said.
Wade and fellow Moss Point High School graduate and UM alumnus Ryan Upshaw (BA 06, MA 08, Ed.D. 19) are leading the scholarship campaign and encourage everyone – even those who never knew Nelson – to join this worthy cause.
Nelson was a special person, Upshaw said: friendly, smart, driven to succeed and inspired to help others.
“Carnesha’s life was taken too early,” said Upshaw, who worked in UM administration for many years before becoming the Chief Diversity Officer of Jackson Preparatory School. “We want to make sure her memory is preserved here at the university through a scholarship in the School of Applied Sciences.”
Wade, who is now a marketing executive in Nashville, said that after all these years, he’s pleased to have the opportunity for everyone to celebrate the life and accomplishments of his friend through this scholarship campaign.
“Even though she was only with us a short time, she left an impact, both in Moss Point and at the university,” Wade said. “Having something here that continues to memorialize her and her commitment to others and her commitment to getting a quality education, that’s meaningful. And that’s something I hope we can all be part of.”
Students awarded the Carnesha Nelson Memorial Scholarship will pursue studies in the School of Applied Sciences, which has eight departments or programs.