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The Hugh George and Elizabeth Scallon Scholarship Established with CFNEIA

January 6, 2023

The Hugh George and Elizabeth Scallon Scholarship Fund has been established with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa (CFNEIA). The endowed fund will support The Hugh George and Elizabeth Scallon Scholarship and will be available for students who meet the established criteria and who apply for scholarships through CFNEIA’s scholarships process, which opens Jan. 10, at

Recipients of The Hugh George and Elizabeth Scallon Scholarship must be a graduating senior of AGWSR High School in Ackley, Iowa, and demonstrate financial need with priority given to students seeking an undergraduate degree in education or a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field.

“Starting this scholarship fund seemed like an ideal way to lend help to aspiring students facing ever-increasing costs of college education, while honoring my ancestors at the same time,” said Bernie Scallon, who founded the fund with his wife, Hân Trinh.

Bernie grew up on a farm northeast of Ackley, the same area where his great-grandparents created their life together. The Scallon and Kenefick families were both among the earliest settlers around Ackley, with a young Hugh George Scallon and the head of the Kenefick family both buying large tracts of land northeast of the young town in 1867. Hugh George later married the youngest daughter in the Kenefick family, Elizabeth, and the two went on to have ten children together between 1877 and 1895. Their belief in the importance of an education, even as farmers in the 1800s in a rural community, was apparent in two ways: first, by the fact that numerous newspaper snippets from at least the early 1890s and into the 1930s referred to one Ackley school district as the Scallon District, which was indicative of the family’s enablement of the nearby country school and, second, by their support for their children’s education.

The potential value of higher education was also apparent to subsequent generations, including Bernie, who graduated from Ackley-Geneva High School in 1976, and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree at Iowa State University and then master’s and doctorate degrees at Purdue University in Indiana. After completing a post-doctoral research program in molecular parasitology at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, Bernie’s career had him performing and managing scientific research and pharmaceutical drug development at Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc. in New Jersey, Centocor, Inc. in Pennsylvania, and Johnson & Johnson in Pennsylvania.

Bernie and Hân are now both retired and regularly spend a portion of their time volunteering. Bernie has also assumed the role of family historian for his extended family and says family history research has been an “everyday thing” since he retired.

When asked about the future of The Hugh George and Elizabeth Scallon Scholarship Fund, Bernie said, “My hope is the fund will always be helping students either by allowing them to take on noticeably less debt while getting their education and/or enabling their pursuit of the specific education they want in order to have the type of satisfying career they dream of.”

CFNEIA is confirmed in compliance with national standards for U.S. community foundations and was selected to hold the fund because of its experience with managing scholarships in Iowa. Additionally, donations to endowed funds with a qualified community foundation, like the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, are eligible for a 25% state tax credit on the total value of the gift through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program. More information about Endow Iowa can be found at

More information about the Scallon family and the establishment of the scholarship fund can be found at For questions about the fund, contact Laurie Everhardt, CFNEIA’s director of development, at (319) 243-1352 or

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