It's been a while since Mignon Perry walked across the Utah State University campus.
Her influence here is still felt, however, despite the fact that she passed away in August of 2005. Mignon Perry, who taught at Utah State University, left a large estate gift to help fund a scholarship established by her brother Theodore Sonne Perry. Theodore Perry has also established an estate gift that will be invested in the scholarship endowment fund that honors his mother and sister.
Theodore Perry said that Mignon didn't marry but that her students were like family to her. She invested all of her life in education, he said. In addition to teaching at Utah State University, she also taught at Washington State University in Pullman for 27 years. Her teaching has had a major impact in many lives and Theodore said he has heard from former students who remember what a wonderful teacher she was.
He said the Perry family has strong ties to USU. His mother, Nora, graduated from USU in 1910 and was vice president of her class. Perry said two of his children graduated from USU as valedictorians and some of his grandchildren have received scholarships from the university.
Recipients of the scholarship, known as "Perry Scholars," must demonstrate financial need and have a grade point average of at least 3.5.
Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said that his sister Mignon was a "wonderful sister."
"She had a great personal drive to achieve and accomplish," he said. "My earliest memories of Mignon would find her with a book, devouring the contents. She loved to read and she loved to study. I believe that whatever direction her life would have taken her would have found her desiring only the best education that was possible for her to achieve."
Elder Perry said that he "grew up on the campus" at USU.
"When we were children we would go up in the evening to have an ice cream cone and race across the Quad for exercise," he said, "USU has always been part of the Perry family's life."
"Mignon was blessed with a good reserve from all her efforts, and I don't think there was any question but that her first and only thought was to give it to Utah State University," Elder Perry said. "Mignon loved people. She was very outgoing. I am sure that each student had a very close relationship with Mignon. She was interested in them and wanted to do all that she could to build in them a love for learning such as she had experienced in her life."