Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation

For good. For ever.

Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Isabella County, now and for generations to come, by attracting and holding permanent endowed funds from a wide range of donors, addressing needs through grant making and providing leadership on key community issues.

Joyce and Gerry Carter Scholarship Fund

The Joyce and Gerry Carter Scholarship Fund was established to award a scholarship to a non-traditional undergraduate student (25-45 years of age) who has successfully completed about two years of college–level academic work.

The fund was started by Gerry Carter in honor of his wife, Joyce. Both Gerry and Joyce were teachers and incredibly passionate about their work. If a Central Michigan University student in the English department (from 1970-1997) was asked to name their favorite class, chances are they would respond with a course taught by Dr. Gerry Carter. Touched by mentors who had affected his life, Carter chose to do the same for his students. "If you don't really care passionately about your students you shouldn't be a damn professor - they go hand in hand" he said. Carter spent 27 years teaching courses on literary critique, mythology and American folklore.

One might say that a career in teaching found Carter, instead of the other way around. Born in Suri, England, Carter served in the British Air Force during WWII. During the war, Canada lost a large percentage of their young men. At its conclusion, the British government recruited subjects to come to Canada by offering free transportation. Carter decided to accept the offer, and moved to Toronto where he lived from 1946 to 1953. Later, Carter moved to California.                                                                            

In California, anyone who had served in WWII could have their college funded through Title Four. Carter chose to attend Long Beach State University under the plan, in exchange for a five-year commitment to teaching upon graduation. Years later, Carter graduated from the University of Southern California after achieving his Masters and Doctorate. He sought work, was hired by CMU and consequently moved to Mt. Pleasant.

It was in his first course at CMU that Carter met Joyce, the woman who would become his wife. Joyce, who also worked at the University, was the director of academic services for 20 years. Joyce shared Carter’s love for teaching, and each weekend, the Carter’s hosted “Friday nights at the Carter’s.” Students were welcomed in their home, and it was a place offered to students as a place to get away.

Carter described himself as “desperately in love with his wife”. So, when she passed away in 2004, he wanted to find the perfect way to memorialize her. Joyce was particularly concerned with non-traditional students. He kept both Joyce and his students in mind when creating the endowment fund, “It seemed appropriate to start an endowment fund that would benefit a nontraditional student, much like myself,” he said.

Joyce and Gerry Carter Scholarship Criteria

  • Applicant shall be a non-traditional student 25-45 years of age;

  • Applicant shall have successfully completed about 2 years of college-level academic work in the Humanities; and

  • Applicant shall intend to apply their university education, at least in part, to accomplishing some specific socially useful end. (Example: Becoming a high school counselor, or serving a two-year stint in the Peace Corps, or helping migrant or sweatshop workers in some way, etc.) Coursework examples may include: language, literature, art, music, history, philosophy, and religion. Careers may include those in the public sector (government) or the third sector (nonprofit) of the economy. Please describe in the written essay.