Officials from Farmers Bank & Trust, Texarkana College, and Texas A&M University-Texarkana met at Farmers Bank & Trust Thursday, August 15th to award the first scholarships from the Inaugural Farmers Bank & Trust Distinguished Speaker Series in Texarkana.

According to a press release, the event was designed to raise scholarship money for local community college graduates who are enrolling at A&M-Texarkana to complete a bachelor's degree. This year’s scholarships were awarded to students from Texarkana College. “We are so appreciative to Farmers for providing our students the opportunity to continue their education at TAMUT. Financial obstacles prevent many TC students from pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and these transfer scholarships will make a big impact,” said Texarkana College President Dr. Jason Smith.

The first Distinguished Speaker Series event was held in April and featured actor, economist, and pop-culture icon Ben Stein. The event raised a total of $27,000 for scholarships, which will be split among six scholarship recipients. Each student will receive $2250 per year for two years. “Farmers Bank & Trust has a giving mission to prioritize educational investments in our community,” said James Bramlett, Farmers Bank & Trust Texarkana Market President. “The Farmers Bank & Trust Speaker Series Scholarships are an investment that will continue to pay dividends year after year to the Texarkana community and most importantly, back to the students. We are proud of the first recipients of the Farmers Bank & Trust Distinguished Speaker Series Scholarships and their commitment to earning their bachelor’s degrees.”

The first recipients of the Farmers Bank & Trust Distinguished Speaker Series Scholarships are Valentiane Rachal, Adrianna Byrd, Tara Solley, Curtis Toliver, Brooke Bowen, and Charity Lewis. “We are so fortunate to have the support of Farmers Bank & Trust,” said A&M-Texarkana President Emily Cutrer. “Their commitment to education through initiatives like the Distinguished Speaker Series has a huge impact on the lives area students, and in turn benefits the entire community.”

Officials are already planning the second installment of the speaker series, which is scheduled to take place on April 2, 2020. The featured speaker for the event will be Captain Scott Kelly, a history-making United States Astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Captain. With awe-inspiring stories from space and personal reflections on leadership, teamwork and testing limits, Scott inspires others to believe that they can reach any goal, no matter how ambitious or audacious. As he looks back on the expedition that shuttled him into history books, audiences revel in the presence of a true American hero and gather unique takeaways on persistence, resilience and self-determination that transform the way they view their own journey through life.