Two University of Missouri students received a prestigious military scholarship Thursday that will get them free tuition and textbooks through the end of their academic career.
Army veterans Paul Wade, a law student at Mizzou and a member of the Missouri National Guard, and Heath McClung, an engineering student at UMSL, were both named Pat Tillman Scholars.
The Pat Tillman Foundation taps 60 scholars each year who are active duty, veterans or their spouses, and provides them with financial help to cover their educational costs, living expenses and additional funds along the way for conferences, among other things. The scholars program is also a networking tool for those involved.
Wade and McClung are the only two scholars in Missouri.
“As a veteran, I don’t believe myself to be any better than my civilian classmates, but I recognize that my experiences are drastically different from many other people attending law school,” Wade said in a statement. “The Pat Tillman Foundation recognizes the need to have veteran leadership at all levels to bring the unique experiences and perspectives veterans share into the public discourse. Being in the small group of Tillman Scholars allows me to be part of a group of veterans working to make the country and world a better place.”
Wade is from Chatham, Ill., and received his bachelor's degree from Truman State University. He served in three combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
McClung is from Wildwood and also went to Truman State before joining the Army and serving three years active duty. While deployed in Afghanistan during 2011, McClung was injured and had to have one of his legs amputated.
McClung hopes to pursue a career working with and developing prosthetics through UMSL's joint engineering program with Washington University, in which he's enrolled.
“I think it’s fascinating technology and really rewarding,” McClung said in a statement. "These are things that help people in their daily lives. Ideally I want to work either in a practice and treat patients or work for a company helping to design and make the next generation of prosthetics. The Pat Tillman Foundation is helping me achieve this goal.”