Article: Ferriday High graduates pledge $100,000 to Louisiana Tech College of Business scholarship fund
Note: This article appeared in The Natchez Democrat on Aug. 11, 2018.
Written by Sandra Robertson
A couple originally from Ferriday recently pledged $100,000 to a Louisiana Tech University College of Business scholarship fund to ensure Concordia Parish graduates have a shot at attending the university.
Rufus and Brenda Estis, now living in Houston, Texas, are both 1969 graduates of Ferriday High School and pursued their undergraduate degrees at Louisiana Tech.
Rufus said the Brenda Kelly and W. Rufus Estis Endowed Scholarship Fund was initially established in 2006 and his contributions continued to grow from there.
“Brenda and I both grew up in Concordia Parish and both graduated from Ferriday High School,” Rufus said. “We had a lot of people who believed in us and supported us but were more encouragement than financial support.”
Rufus said he believes he was blessed to be able to attend Louisiana Tech’s college of business on scholarships.
“This is an opportunity to give back,” he said.
After the couple’s recent pledge of $100,000, they have now contributed $200,000 to the scholarship fund, which will be awarded each year to Concordia Parish students who will attend Louisiana Tech’s College of Business.
The value of the scholarship is currently between $2,000 and $5,000 depending on the number of eligible recipients each year for the one-time award.
“My hope is that (the scholarship) will help a lot of students who have the drive and ambition who may not have the money,” Rufus said. “There is no academic requirement other than to graduate from Concordia Parish, get into the university and major in business.”
Rufus said both he and Brenda attended Louisiana Tech and lived within a close proximity to the campus. Rufus started his undergraduate studies in real estate and finance while his wife studied education and biology. Rufus switched his major to accounting in his first year and eventually received his bachelor’s degree in 1973.
Rufus continued and earned his master’s degree in finance from the University of Houston, and he worked in the oil and gas domestically and internationally for 30 years while Brenda moved with him and worked as a teacher, principal and a volunteer for various charitable organizations.
Rufus said he worked overseas assignments in Indonesia, Dubai and Kazakhstan and earning his business and accounting degree was an excellent start to a successful career.
It was, however, his experience gained through extracurricular involvement on the Louisiana Tech campus that allowed him to develop his business skills, he said.
“While certainly having a good degree from a good university is a great start in life … you learn so many things through volunteering and being a part of a group that use the same skills you use in business management,” Rufus said. “Yes I got a good degree, but it was all of the other experiences that help me succeed.”
He and his wife are now retired and host events for Louisiana Tech at their house in Houston. In 2006, Rufus was selected for Louisiana Tech’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award and currently serves as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board.
“We’re forever grateful to Rufus and Brenda for their ongoing support of the college of business and their strong commitment to our students,” said Chris Martin, the dean of the college of business at Louisiana Tech. “The generosity of the Estises — and so many of our alumni and friends — ensures the college of business will continue to educate outstanding leaders in the business world for generations to come.”
Rufus said he hopes that Louisiana Tech’s college of business and its students will continue to thrive.