Huntington — Nine exceptional students have accepted offers to join the Society of Yeager Scholars, the top academic scholarship program at Marshall University. 

 

Among the students starting their studies this Fall are one of the nation’s top-ranked congressional debaters, a future member of the No. 1-ranked Marshall men’s soccer team and the first Yeager Scholar whose parent is an alumna of the program. The nine students were selected after a competitive process that included a rigorous application and multiple interviews.

The class is the 35th in the program’s history and will be known as the Charlie and Alma Slack Class of 2025. The members of the Charlie and Alma Slack Class of 2025 are:

The Slack class was selected after a virtual Finalist Weekend, which featured 26 students from across the country. The finalists participated in interviews with four different teams, a mock seminar and virtual networking with the current scholars. The first nine students who were offered the scholarship accepted it.

The Yeager scholarship is worth $143,000. The benefits include full tuition, room and board; books and fees; study in Oxford, England; a laptop computer; and a personal stipend. In return, Yeager Scholars must maintain a 3.5 grade point average, participate in additional academic and leadership enrichment, and perform community service.

The Class of 2025 is named after Charlie and Alma Slack. Charlie Slack, who passed away in 2020, was a longtime participant in the Yeager selection process. He and his wife, Alma, were ardent supporters of the Yeager program. Slack was a Marshall basketball player under legendary coach Cam Henderson from 1952-1956. He was the 22nd overall pick in the 1956 NBA draft, but chose to play for the Goodyear Akron (Ohio) Wingfoots in the National Industrial Basketball League and was an alternate for the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team.

Slack was enshrined in the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Marshall Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985. His number 17 jersey was retired by Marshall in 2000. After his basketball career ended, Slack stayed in the Akron area, where he was an active semifinalist interviewer for prospective Yeager Scholars and an ambassador for Marshall University.

The Yeager scholarship has been in existence at Marshall since it was announced in 1985. The first class, which consisted of 20 students, came to campus in 1987 and graduated in 1991. Since 1991, nearly 300 students have graduated as Yeager Scholars. The program is named for the late Brig. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager, a West Virginia native, World War II veteran and the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.