The Frank & Elizabeth Spencer Scholarship

— Written By Annie Thompson
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The Frank & Elizabeth Spencer Scholarship

Established by dairymen, friends, and associates to express their appreciation to Frank & Elizabeth for their devotion to agriculture, their dedication to serving people, and their tireless efforts to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Cleveland & Gaston Counties.


This scholarship was first established in 1986 to honor B. Frank Spencer and his wife, Elizabeth Stanley Spencer on Frank’s retirement from the N.C. Cooperative Extension Program.

Born in Hyde County, Mr. Spencer was a captain in the Marine Corps, serving in the Pacific Theater in World War II. He graduated from NC State University and worked for 20 years as a dairy farm manager in Orange County. Thereafter, he served as Extension Dairy Agent for Cleveland and Gaston counties for eleven years, and later as Chairman for N.C. Cooperative Extension of Cleveland County from 1979 to 1986. Mr. Spencer’s career was distinguished by his caring for others and his optimism. He always strived to help other people better themselves through education. He never lost his personal thirst for knowledge and his professional quest for learning anything that would help him better serve the farmers and citizens who looked to him for assistance. He was known for his soft-spoken nature, his sense of fairness, and his wonderful sense of humor.

Until his death on October 22, 2005, Mr. Spencer remained active in his church and the local community. He was a member of John Knox Presbyterian Church and the Shelby Community Lions Club, where he was past president, treasurer, and Melvin James Fellow. He served on the board of directors of the Cleveland County Fair and was a member of the Cleveland County Poultry Council, Alpha Zeta fraternity and Cleveland County FCA.

Frank and his wife Elizabeth of 59 years supported each other and never lost their youthful outlook and their zest for living. Mrs. Spencer passed away on August 3, 2006.

It is hoped that this scholarship will assist youth in acquiring an education that will enable them to achieve a higher standard of living for themselves and others.


A $500 scholarship will be awarded annually to a Cleveland or Gaston County high school senior who enrolls in a degree program in agriculture, home economics, or pre-veterinary medicine. The Agricultural Institute at NC State University qualifies; community colleges, technical institutes, and other two-year programs do not.

Selection will be made by a committee that includes at least two representatives each from Cleveland & Gaston Counties. The committee will be comprised of at least one County Extension Director and shall include dairy farmers and professional educators.

Greatest emphasis will be placed on curricular activities and leadership. Scholastic achievement and financial need will also be considered. Priority will be given to 4-H, FHA, and FFA members.


Applications are due April 15 each year. Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation, an official high school transcript, and a biographical statement,
applications are available from the offices of N.C. Cooperative Extension in Cleveland and Gaston Counties:

N.C. Cooperative Extension
Cleveland County Center
130 S. Post Road, Suite 1
Shelby, NC 28152
phone: (704) 482-4365

N.C. Cooperative Extension
Gaston County Center
P.O. Box 476
Dallas, NC 28034
phone: (704) 922-0301

Previous Awardees

Previous recipients of the Frank & Elizabeth Spencer Scholarship include:

  • 2006 – Jonathan Jordan (Crest High School)
  • 2005 – Angelina Zon (Burns High School)
  • 2004 – Casey Sain (Crest High School)
  • 2003 – Abby Kates (Kings Mountain High School)
  • 2002 – Jennifer Johnson (Gaston County)
  • 2001 – Josh Bridges (Burns High School)
  • 2000 – Lineberger (Gaston County)
  • 1999 – Kevin Douglas Elliott (Burns High School)
  • 1999 – Randolph E. “Chip” Carothers (Crest High School)
  • 1997 – James A. Mauney, Jr. (Hunter Huss High School)
  • 1996 – Holly Elizabeth McGee (Burns High School)
  • 1995 – Josh Beam (Burns High School)
  • 1994 – Jason Lail (Burns High School)
  • 1993 – Luke Beam (Burns High School)
  • 1992 – Clinton Crocker (Cherryville High School)
  • 1991 – Donnie Costner (Burns High School)
  • 1990 – Nancy Wilson (Shelby High School)
  • 1989 – Julie Jenkins (Kings Mountain High School)
  • 1988 – Christoper Herndon (Kings Mountain High School)
  • 1987 – Amy Green (Kings Mountain High School)

Last updated: 3-13-19