JONESBORO – A scholarship has been established to honor a former Arkansas State University faculty member. The Roy Aldridge Legacy Scholarship was established in 2022 in honor of Roy Lee Aldridge Jr. Aldridge was a beloved faculty member in the physical therapy department for 20 years.
“He was the heart and energy of the department and had a true passion about the profession of physical therapy and a true love for the students he taught,” said Stacey Sloas, interim department chair of physical therapy.
“Since his passing in March 2019, students, faculty, alumni and community members have worked to endow a scholarship in his memory,” said Sloas. The Department of Physical Therapy has established a scholarship that honors one of Aldridge’s favorite pastimes. “The Roy” is a golf tournament held each May at Sage Meadows.
The annual golf tournament has provided the funds for the endowment of the scholarship. Some donations were made as a memorial for Aldridge. The first two recipients of the scholarships were awarded in October as part of physical therapy month.
“The awardees should exhibit a passion for the profession of physical therapy and serving others,” said Sloas. Scholarship winners Rylee Phillips and Mallory Long will each receive a $500 scholarship.
Phillips is a physical therapist assistant student who is an active member of the Physical Therapy Student Association (PTSA). She is a native of Bryant who began her education studying health science and pre-physical therapy. “She has participated in the United Way Day of Caring. She has a passion and desire to make connections with others,” said Sloas. She said Phillips plans to work in an outpatient clinic in Little Rock after graduation.
Long is a third-year doctor of physical therapy student. She has participated in PTSA, hippotherapy research and has served as a graduate assistant for the physical therapy department. Long is a Harrisburg native who graduated from A-State with a bachelor of science in business management. Sloas said Long plans to stay in Northeast Arkansas and serve her hometown community.
“When Roy spoke to students, clinicians or anyone he always conveyed his passion for physical therapy. His concern for every student was evident in his attitude and actions,” said Sloas. “He encouraged everyone to visit him in his final weeks and took endless pictures with students and alumni. I didn’t understand it fully then, but now I see he left each of us with a final piece of him. He was remarkable. He was my actual neighbor, my colleague, my mentor and my friend.”
Aldridge’s legacy also includes his wife and daughters who say they are happy to see his legacy continue. “The Aldridge girls are honored by the community, physical therapy department and all of the volunteers who have made this scholarship possible. Roy was the best husband and father to us. We are humbled that his legacy continues to live on,” said Stacy, Katie, Hannah and Leah Mae Aldridge in a statement.
The two recipients will receive the funds for the spring 2023 semester.