Pelham Family Scholarship

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Gene Pelham and Tina Overton met as freshmen while attending Eagle Point High School and graduated together in 1978. They married in 1979.

Gene was born and raised in the Rogue Valley. He was an athlete, participated in student government, and was a popular student that earned good grades. He was raised with his brother in a small home across the creek from Butte Creek Mill by his single mother. With limited funds to pay for college, Gene planned on joining the Air Force or working in a grocery store like his uncle. As his senior year approached, he was fortunate that Charlotte Smith, a school counselor, encouraged him to apply for a scholarship offered by an Oregon bank. This scholarship was a five year program where he worked at the bank, while attending school, and learning all facets of banking. Gene was awarded the scholarship and earned his Bachelor’s Degree at Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University.)

In 1985, after eight years at the bank, he started work in a local credit union branch and was soon promoted to the position of branch manager in Cottage Grove. Gene made the most of every opportunity given to him, building a successful career in the financial field. He became a Vice President in his early 30’s and became a CEO of a smaller credit union before he turned 40. Through his work in the credit union movement he discovered his true passion for serving others through a not-for-profit financial services model.  He continually sought out educational opportunities and distinguished himself in his educational pursuits. In 2003 he was asked to return to the Rogue Valley for a position at Rogue Credit Union. Upon his return to the valley he went back to Southern Oregon University graduating in 2006 with a Masters in Management Degree. He was honored to be recognized as the outstanding graduate student for his graduating class.

Gene and Tina’s commitment to the Credit Union philosophy of “people helping people” and their hearts for community service has had a positive impact on the Rogue Valley and state of Oregon. He was fortunate enough to serve in several influential leadership roles in the credit union movement and the community. In the credit union movement he served as the Chair for the Credit Union Association of Oregon and Chair of the Western CUNA Management School Board of Trustees. His community leadership was highlighted by his services as the Chair of the Medford/Jackson County Chamber of Commerce board, service on a Federal Reserve committee, and appointment to the Governor’s Wildfire Economic Recovery Council. He has been recognized with multiple credit union movement and community awards. Gene finished his career at Rogue Credit Union as their President/CEO. Under his leadership Rogue grew from 63 employees to nearly 600, from 5 branches to 27, and from the 9th largest credit union in Oregon to become the second largest.

Tina attended trade school and enjoyed a successful 32-year career in Hairdressing and Cosmetology as an owner/operator. Tina actively served her community by being the President of the Creswell High School Booster Club, and a board member of Soroptimists International of Medford, and served on the board of the D9 Foundation. Through her dedication to serving women she was recognized with the Soroptimist of the Year from her local club. Her proudest accomplishment is raising their outstanding children, Chris and Melissa in the Creswell area, while supporting Gene in his career.

The Pelham family recognizes that without the encouragement of Mrs. Smith to apply for a scholarship, Gene would not have attended college, and their lives would have been very different. The family believes all students who desire to further their education or attend a trade school should be given the same opportunity as Gene and Tina were given.

To Study: Any approved program of study.

To Attend: Any accredited vocational school, community college, four-year college or university. The school must have federal Title IV designation.

Open To: Any current year Eagle Point High School graduate, GED recipient, Charter School graduate or home school student who resides and will graduate within the boundaries of School District 9 is eligible to apply. Priority will be given to students seeking a career in the fields of Business, Computer Sciences or Education.

Selection Based Upon: Students of limited financial means where there is an opportunity to change the trajectory of their life should have priority over other applicants.

Applicants must complete the EPHS Local Scholarship application available from the Eagle Center, or online, and submit it prior to the deadline to be considered for the award.