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Legacy of education: Maxine Hurst

Maxine Hurst and her husband Wilburn gave to worthy causes all their lives. With no children of their own, they were able to support their own and other churches, charities and civic projects, as well as supporting their family and friends.

“They never sought credit or recognition,” said Maxine Hurst’s cousin Keith Wellman. “For all of their generosity over the years, Maxine’s final request was to leave the bulk of her estate to her beloved alma mater Marshall University.”

Funded by their estate, the Wilburn and Maxine Hurst Academic Scholarship supports Cabell and Wayne county students in the College of Education and Professional Development. Before her passing in 2018, Maxine Hurst also established the Mona Wellman Samson Scholarship Fund in honor of her mother who was a longtime teacher in Cabell and Wayne counties. That scholarship also supports Wayne County graduates.

Sophomore nursing major Kami Chapman, from Wayne, West Virginia, is one of the recipients of the Mona Wellman Samson Scholarship. Chapman said she wants to be a nurse because it impacts people’s lives in a hands-on environment with person-to-person contact.

“My scholarships have pushed me to spend more time on campus studying to keep the scholarships,” Chapman said. “I would love to tell Mrs. Hurst thank you for leaving your estate to the university in order to help students pursuing their careers.”

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Hurst was also an educator, teaching high school math for more than 40 years.

“Several years ago, because I was also a teacher, she gave me the school bell her mother – my Aunt Mona Samson – had used during her first one-room schoolhouse teaching assignments,” Wellman said. “I will gift it to my daughter who is also a teacher.”

Hurst received her teaching degree from Marshall and graduated with honors. She went on to get her master’s degree in mathematics from Columbia.

“In 40-plus years of teaching, she was a no-nonsense individual and expected her math students to be the same,” Wellman said. “As with her students, Maxine had high expectations for the younger members of our extended family. She stayed on top of us. When asked how we were doing she generally meant in our academics. I always sought her approval.”

Wellman said his oldest cousin was intelligent, confident, well-organized and strong. She knew how things worked and could fix or repair virtually anything mechanical.

He said her message to all students would be to work hard on your studies and value your education for it is an opportunity of a lifetime.