(JACKSON, Miss.) — Jackson State University is the recipient of a $75,000 education endowment named for the late Stephen F. Mason, the 17th pastor of the Greater Pearlie Grove M.B. Church. An alum, Mason graduated with a Bachelor of Science from JSU in 1976.
“It is always a pleasure to work with those who really take the time to invest in our students. We are excited about the Stephen F. Mason education endowment and the impact it will make on the lives of our students during their matriculation,” said Thomas K. Hudson, J.D., president of JSU.
Mason’s peers describe him as a man who preached and taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that encouraged, exhorted and challenged people to move from religion to relationship.
“He was not a man that sought recognition. He did not want his name on buildings or things of that nature. His contribution to the church and the lives of so many people, we could not just standby and allow his legacy to be unheard,” said Rev. Arthur R. Bridges, II, pastor of Greater Pearlie Grove M.B. Church. “We wanted to touch as many lives through him as we could. He was an advocate for education, so instead of putting his name on a building, we thought this was more of an appropriate way to honor his legacy.”
The scholarship will be used to pay for tuition, textbooks, supplies and other fees included in the cost of education for eligible students.
An education scholarship seems fitting to honor Mason’s life. He worked as a teacher for over 20 years in the Canton and Jackson Public School Systems until he was called to the ministry in October 1987 and was ordained on April 10, 1988.
Mason furthered his religious educational training at Wesley Methodist Seminary in Jackson. He then received a Masters of Divinity in new testament studies from the University of Biblical Studies and Seminary located in Bethany, Oklahoma. He also received a Doctorate in Christian education from Andersonville Baptist Seminary, Camilla, Georgia.
Mason was called to pastor Mt. Charity M.B. Church in Carthage, serving for seven years. In May of 1995, he accepted the pastor position for Greater Pearlie Grove M. B. Church of Jackson.
Because of the demands associated with the church’s growth, Mason found himself faced with the decision to continue teaching in the public school system or leaving for full-time service to the church. Mason chose to follow God.
Later, the church relocated from Grand Avenue to its existing home at 1640 West County Line Road. On Sunday, November 11, 2012, Greater Pearlie Grove held its first worship service in the new location. There, Mason led the church for over 26 years. He unfortunately passed away in October 2021.
Mason was married to his wife, the former Vickie Thompson of Flora, for 35 years. The couple shared two children– Nathan Andrew and Margaret Sinclair.
To be eligible for the Stephen F. Mason Education Scholarship(s), candidates must meet the following criteria:
• Must be incoming freshman, freshman or sophomore pursing a degree in the field of education;
• Must have a minimum 2.75 GPA;
• Must submit three (3) letters of recommendations from school officials reflecting exemplary
behavior, leadership, excellence of character, and/or community involvement.
• Must submit a one-page essay explaining how the Stephen F. Mason Education Scholarship will
impact your academic career at Jackson State University and beyond.