Martin L. Beck, Jr. Endowed Scholarship

A conversation with Virginia H. Beck.

Why did you choose to create a scholarship at Auburn University?
Martin believed in hard work and education, and he loved young people. I established the Martin L. Beck, Jr. Endowed Scholarship in 2012 in memory of my husband.

What would you want the recipients of this scholarship to know about the person for whom it is named?
Martin was born in Bisbee, Ariz. on June 30, 1925. His family moved to Auburn in 1928 when his father joined the faculty in the College of Education. Martin grew up in Auburn where he attended grade and high school. Upon graduation in 1943, he worked for a time in a wind tunnel at Langley Field, Va., the predecessor of NASA. He entered the Air Force later that year and transferred to the infantry in 1944. He was captured on a night patrol behind the enemy lines in January 1945 and was liberated in April of that year. Martin studied Engineering Physics at Auburn, graduating in March 1949. His first job was with the Naval Ordnance Laboratory. He continued his interest in science and read scientific articles throughout his life. He returned to Auburn in 1954 to work with his father at Beck’s Turf Nursery Co. He became owner of the company in 1961 and operated it until his retirement in 1990. His engineering education enabled him to develop several machines for use in the turf business which he patented, manufactured and sold through Beck Manufacturing Co. Martin passed away on January 4, 2012.

Tell us about your Auburn story, favorite tradition, a “War Eagle!” moment, or what Auburn has meant to you.
A native of Greensboro, Ala., I earned the BS and MS degrees in Home Economics and the EdS degree in Adult Education. My thirty-three year career was with the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service as Extension Agent in Washington, Escambia and Clarke counties and as Extension Specialist at the state level at Auburn University. I retired in 1993 and continue to live in the Loveliest Village. My “War Eagle” moment — I was a member of the first graduating class of Auburn University in March 1960!

What do you hope your recipients gain through this scholarship?
I hope the scholarship recipients find a successful and enjoyable career and, of course, keep the Auburn Spirit!