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Stedman family endows memorial scholarship at APSU

Earlier this year, Dr. Carlton Stedman and his wife, Janet, decided to honor the memories of two of their five children.

Their son, Mark Stedman, a local carpenter, had been seriously injured in an electrical accident and died 12 years later. Their daughter, Janis Stedman, was diagnosed with melanoma that led to her death.

“We wanted to do something in their memory,” Carl Stedman said. “They didn't die close together, but Mark was injured only about four months after Janis died. He never really recovered.”

The Stedmans decided the best way to honor their children was by providing others in the community with the opportunity to earn a college education. That's why they created the Janis Stedman and Mark Stedman Memorial Scholarship Endowment for students desiring a career in nursing and teaching at Austin Peay State University.

“The University deeply appreciates this generous endowment established by the Stedmans,” APSU President Tim Hall said. “Through their gift, Austin Peay will be able to provide more of the nurses and teachers needed for Tennessee's future.”

The scholarship will be awarded annually to declared teaching or nursing majors at APSU. Applicants must be full-time students, and he or she may renew the scholarship every year if a 3.0 GPA is maintained.

The Stedman Family has close ties to the teaching profession. Carl Stedman worked as an APSU professor of education and served for 16 years as the dean of the APSU College of Education. In 1999, a room in the Claxton Building on campus was named in his honor. Janet Stedman earned her bachelor's degree in education from APSU and taught for 21 years at East Montgomery Elementary School. The couple wanted the scholarship to benefit students interested in teaching, but they decided it was also important to provide opportunities for nursing students.

“Both Mark and Janis received good care for the most part, and that stimulated including nursing (in the scholarship) more than anything else,” Carl Stedman said. “The therapists, the nurses, and many others who worked with them acted as dedicated professionals. We were very pleased with the care our children and others received.”

The family also wanted the scholarships to go to established students rather than freshmen.

“So many scholarships are given to freshmen, and so many times there are non-scholarship students at the freshman level who do better than the scholarship students, but there's very little available to them after the first year,” he said. “This scholarship will be for those that have already focused on a major in nursing or education.”

The Stedmans also remember during their time at APSU seeing students struggle to pay for college. They hope this scholarship will alleviate some of the burden of trying to get a degree.

“I'm on the scholarship committee with the Retired Teachers Association, and we review applications where some of these people are really struggling, trying to stay in school,” Janet Stedman said. “While they're student teaching, they can't work. We'll hopefully be able to help somebody with this scholarship.”

In addition to Janet Stedman, three other members of the family earned degrees from APSU. A son, Steven Stedman, received a bachelor's and master's degree from APSU and teaches and coaches for the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System. A daughter, Susanne Robbins, earned her bachelor's degree from APSU and works in North Carolina as a geologist. And their son Mark, before he passed away, graduated with an associate degree from APSU.

Another son, Michael, graduated from the University of Memphis, and Janis received a bachelor's and a master's degree from Washington University in St. Louis.

For more information on the scholarship, please contact the APSU Advancement Office at 931-221-7127. -- Charles Booth