Application Submission Open to Owen County Students for the Marcella Whisman Peed Endowed Scholarship

An old photograph of a woman with bobbed hair and an orange mock-neck shirt.
By Ann Blackford

When Gus Peed reflects on his life, and successes along the way, he recognizes that hard work, a drive to achieve, opportunity and an outstretched hand have shaped his life successes. The help Gus Peed received enabled him to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology to study chemical engineering through their cooperative program. The program allowed him to share a real full-time job with another student which earned him enough money to cover tuition, room and board for his time in school.

After completing his education at Georgia Tech, he made his way to Louisville, Kentucky, and his first job. He soon met the young Marcella Whisman at a YMCA dance, a day he considers to be the luckiest day of his life. Marcella grew up on a farm in Owen County, Kentucky, the youngest of four children. She loved Owen County, but she yearned for something beyond life on the farm. Although she didn’t have the resources to go to college, the first leg of her journey led her to secretarial school in Louisville.  

The two married and their family grew to include daughter Mary Jo, and son Paul. 

It is because Gus Peed believes his good fortune in life had a lot to do with the help he received to pursue his education, that he has established a scholarship at the University of Kentucky in honor of his late wife and her desire to venture out and experience life beyond the four corners of Owen County.

The scholarship will be awarded to a student from Owen County who wishes to attend UK and has a planned career path in mind with goals for success. The scholarship will provide full tuition, as well as room and board, in its entirety for four years. The scholarship is endowed and will be available to Owen County students for many, many years to come.

Mary Jo Peed describes her mother as having an open mind and an open heart, creating a journey in life of her own choosing.

“She was a friend to all, a supporting member of anyone’s dream or endeavor,” Mary Jo Peed said about her mom. “She spent her life in service to others with a guiding hand and a kind word. She served the young and the old, the hospitalized, those with debilitating illness, the families of those at the end of life, church parishioners, and her neighbors and friends. She loved traveling the world and loved meeting the people in it. It is truly fitting that this scholarship is in her name, as she will continue to extend a hand to deserving students of Owen County.” 

Although Marcella Peed’s life journey took her away from her childhood home, it still held a place in her heart.

“We chose UK because my mother was proud to be from Owen County and the farm,” Mary Jo Peed said. “While we could have chosen any public or private university in the U.S., we have ties to Kentucky. We know that Owen County students would greatly appreciate the support that this scholarship will bring, and that a public institution, such as UK, presents a very cost-effective opportunity to that well-deserving student with a dream.

“As resources for college are often scarce, higher education can be a steppingstone to opportunities and dreams fulfilled. My mother would be very happy that we are providing opportunities for young people in Owen County in her name.”

The Marcella Whisman Peed Scholarship Application is live on ScholarshipUniverse. Visit and enter the name of the scholarship in the search field. Incoming freshman, transfer and currently enrolled UK students can access the application using their Single Sign-On UK linkblue credentials. More information about ScholarshipUniverse can be found here:

“UK is very grateful for Mr. Peed’s gift of an endowed scholarship to UK,” said J. Ford Stanley, assistant vice president for major gifts in UK Philanthropy. “It is because of the generosity of Mr. Peed and others like him, that UK is able to carry out its mission to educate, innovate, heal and serve. Mr. Peed’s gift will no doubt change the lives of well-deserving Owen County students who might not otherwise be able to pursue their dreams of a college education at UK.”

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