A Franklin, Tennessee couple who founded a network of substance-abuse treatment clinics has funded a special scholarship that allows students from a high school in the Bahamas to attend Middle Tennessee State University.
Michael and Tina Cartwright, who both attended MTSU, established a $600,000 scholarship fund to cover tuition, housing and other expenses for four Coakley students to live and take classes on MTSU’s Murfreesboro campus.
The Cartwrights have a second home in the Bahamas and want to help students from L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma develop expertise through higher education that, in turn, would help benefit others on the island of Exuma.
The scholarship will renew after the first group of four honorees graduate from MTSU.
Michael Cartwright, chairman and co-founder of American Addiction Centers, announced the creation of the scholarship during events held Jan. 21-22 in the Bahamas with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, a native of the country.
“Tina and I understand the value of higher education,” said Michael Cartwright. “We approached President McPhee to establish a pathway that could recognize and reward future leaders who could return to Exuma as leaders and will help spur economic development on the island.”
Jerome Fitzgerald, Bahamian minister of education, science and technology, said he was “humbled” by the Cartwrights’ donation.
“I applaud your initiative and fully endorse this endeavor that will greatly benefit the students of Exuma, the island of Exuma and, by extension, our country,” Fitzgerald said.
According to President McPhee, the Cartwrights wanted to make a targeted gift with an institution they trusted to help mold students into leaders for Exuma.
“Michael and Tina wanted to invest in MTSU, a known entity to them, to help people that they knew could benefit from mentoring, guidance and direction for this archipelago,” McPhee said. “Our university will help prepare and educate the students selected for this honor to become leaders and influencers on the island.”
McPhee also stated that it was the Cartwrights’ hope that the recipients of their award would return to their home communities and contribute to the economic, social and cultural growth of Great Exuma. He also noted that the scholarship recipients will be required to complete two experiential learning or community service projects in Great Exuma.
“Tina and I wanted to give something back to the people we’ve come to know, love and respect during our time in The Bahamas,” Michael Cartwright said. “MTSU offers a unique experience to transform the lives of those selected for this program.”
Andrew Oppmann contributed to this report.
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