Education paved the path to success for Benton native Henry “Herbert” Johnston.
And his legacy will provide the same type of educational opportunities for future generations through an endowed scholarship created in his memory.
The Henry “Herbert” Johnston Veterans Scholarship Endowment was recently established with the University of Southern Mississippi by his widow Anna Mae McNeece Johnston and family.
“Herbert wouldn’t have been able to do half of what he did if it hadn’t been for the opportunities that the Air Force gave him,” Anna said. “We want to help someone else who may need support while they are pursuing an education at Southern Miss.”
The memorial scholarship will be available to a student in any major who is a veteran or is a spouse or child of a veteran, with preference given to an Air Force veteran.
Johnston’s dedication to his country spans over two decades with his service in the United States Air Force.
Johnston enrolled at USM while stationed at the Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas through the Air Force Bootstrap Program. The program, which has since been replaced by The Air Force Educational Leave of Absence Program, allows Air Force members to attend an accredited school full-time to earn a degree while remaining on active duty with the agreement that the active duty commitment will be extended.
In 1971, Johnston a bachelor’s in industrial engineering technology from USM. A year later, he received his master’s in vocational technology education.
Johnston served his country for more than 20 years as a master sergeant and recruiter. Outside of his military duties, he also taught diversified technology for 18 years at Yazoo City High School.
Johnston retired in 1990.
Johnston was also an active member of Benton Baptist Church, where he led Sunday School classes and spearheaded group trips.
In recent years, USM has placed a greater emphasis on providing student-veterans with the support they need to excel in the classroom and succeed in civilian life through the Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families.
“Military service members and their families have made life-changing sacrifices to protect our freedom and way of life,” said Maj. General (Retired) Jeff Hammond, director of the Center. “It is our honor and duty to provide them the best in care and support as they pursue their respective career goals at our university.”
Johnston’s memorial scholarship and other scholarships for student-veterans help affirm the USM’s commitment to serving those who serve others.
“Through generous contributions of caring Southern Miss alumni and friends, the Center administers 12 scholarships to assist veterans and family members with funding their education,” said Hammond. “As we continue to expand our scholarship program, we are most grateful to Mrs. Johnston and her family for their willingness to make a difference for our students.”