Remaining VEMCO capital credits now NSU scholarships

Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell (L) and SWEPCO President & COO Venita McCellon-Allen dedicate remaining capital credits to Northwestern State University with NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson (R).

SWEPCO and Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell on Nov. 23 dedicated $200,000 in remaining Valley capital credits to Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.

“SWEPCO has worked diligently since purchasing Valley Electric in 2010 to refund $25 million in capital credits owed to the families and businesses that were members of the co-op during its 70 years of operation,” Campbell said.

“More than 99 percent of that money has now been returned to its rightful owners, and at my request the PSC has approved the transfer of the remaining $200,000 to Northwestern to establish this perpetual scholarship fund for deserving business students.”

SWEPCO completed the purchase of Natchitoches-based Valley Electric in October 2010.  As part of the $100-million transaction, Valley’s board of directors pledged to honor Valley’s $25 million in “patronage capital credits” owed to its members.

Patronage capital credits are accumulated by electric co-op members as their share of co-op earnings.

“SWEPCO worked diligently to return those credits to VEMCO members,” said SWEPCO President and COO Venita McCellon-Allen. “We’re excited to see the remaining dollars to be used in to support the communities and people we serve.”

These funds will be used in three ways:

  • $120,000 will be used to establish two endowment funds, the “Valley Electric/SWEPCO First Generation Endowed Scholarship” and the “Valley Electric/SWEPCO Endowed Professorship” in the NSU College of Business and Technology; and
  • $80,000 will be allocated to the NSU Columns Fund for student scholarships, support for faculty and staff, and capital improvements.

The first-generation scholarship will support students who are the first in their family to attend college. The endowed professorship will enable the university to recruit and retain faculty whose research, teaching and/or public service contribute to their department and the institution.

State matching contributions from the Board of Regents Support Fund will provide an additional $40,000 for each of the two endowment funds, bringing the total impact of the Valley/SWEPCO contribution to $280,000.

“These funds will enable Northwestern State to continue our mission of putting students first and will impact students in the Valley/SWEPCO service area,” said NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson. “Scholarships and professorships help us give our graduates competitive advantages over their peers in their pursuit of education and career success.

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