The Bette Bennett Hammond Memorial Scholarship exemplifies passing inspiration from generation to generation. Jim and Michael Hammond established the fund at the Community Foundation 13 years ago in honor of their mother, who showed them how to persevere through very difficult circumstances.
Bette never achieved fame or financial success. Though she excelled in school, circumstances prevented her from attending college. After World War II, she married and had children, but divorce sadly left her to raise her sons with almost no support. The family lived in public housing for a while before buying a small house.
But Bette would not allow those challenges to define their lives, and she insisted that the boys place a high priority on their education. Her philosophy is tri-fold: accept responsibility, work hard and set your dreams and expectations high.
Bette lost her battle with cancer in 1972, before she could see her sons, inspired by her philosophy, excel in college and go on to successful business careers. With success, their mother taught them, comes a duty to give back. To honor their mother and her example, Jim and Michael established the scholarship, which is awarded annually to a group of New Albany High School graduates. It was important to the family to establish the scholarships at New Albany, in honor of the city and school that were so instrumental in their early growth, development and happiness.
To date the fund has awarded more than $260,000 in scholarships. Most recipients are now college graduates and have established promising careers in fields such as accounting, mathematics, education, banking and veterinary science.
By paying tribute to the woman whose own hard work and personal philosophy sowed their seeds of success, Jim and Michael Hammond have created a wonderful example of honoring a loved one’s legacy.