CSC News

April 18, 2024

Tillmans Establish Scholarship Endowment

The Department of Computer Science (CSC) is pleased to announce that CSC alum and recent Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Tillman (BS CSC ‘03) and his wife Courtney (BS ChemE ‘03), have made a generous donation to establish the Tillman Family CLIMB Scholarship endowment to support future generations of engineering and computer science students at NC State University. 


This endowment will provide merit- and need-based scholarships for students pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering and computer science disciplines. The Tillmans’ primary intent is to support students hailing from under-resourced communities, where pursuing higher education immediately after high school may not be the first choice due to various socio-economic factors. Their preference is that awards go to students who are from the first generation in their family to attend college, who have a demonstrated interest in creating and promoting equal opportunities for all in the field of engineering, and/or who have demonstrated experience living or working in diverse environments.


In creating this endowment, the Tillmans both wanted to give opportunities to students who may not have been given a chance otherwise and mentioned how someone somewhere took a chance on each of them when they were applying to school, applying for scholarships, and applying for jobs. They wanted to reciprocate the feeling to a deserving student. 


Jerry and Courtney were both born and raised in North Carolina. Jerry is from Greensboro and Courtney is from Nakina, NC in Columbus County. They met as students at NC State. They got married a few years after graduating and have been together ever since. They have two children, Micah and Mikayla, and reside in Raleigh. They both credit their parents for instilling their morals and work ethic in them as they were growing up.

When asked about the idea and concept around establishing the endowment, Jerry said "Courtney and I are very spiritual as it relates to how we've been blessed and what God has done for us in our lives. I knew that in recent years, it (the idea of giving back) started with kind of getting back involved with the university."


When Jerry joined the department’s Strategic Advisory Board for Computer Science a few years ago, he says he saw a different side to NC State that he had not previously seen as a student. He was able to see the inner workings of the department and wanted to do something to show his appreciation.


“Courtney is actually the person who came up with the framework. She came up with the idea. It was sort of marrying what was happening, what I was experiencing and feeling at the university as an alumni and a board member with Courtney's heart and spirit that she already conceptualized,” Tillman said.


Throughout the process of creating the scholarship, the initial outcome and goal changed as they got deeper and deeper into the process. They realized that they wanted this scholarship to be a beacon of hope and help for a student who was unable to afford an education even if they were academically gifted.


“We have parents that used what they had to help us forward ourselves in our education, and not everybody has that. We know people that are brilliant, but the only hindrance is the finances that they need to go to college. So, we're like, if we can lessen that burden or we can remove that burden a little bit, so they can have the opportunity and they can let their light shine, we wanted to help with that,” Courtney said.


The Tillmans would like to thank their parents, siblings, friends, and children for their unwavering support and encouragement, but most importantly would like to thank God for all of the opportunities and blessings that He has given to them in their lives. 



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