Virginia Matthews Law Scholarship/Endowment Established at BRI by West Texas Ranching Family

A new scholarship has been created at the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University by the family of Virginia Matthews Law, whose family has operated a ranch in West Texas for more than one hundred years. The scholarship was created to honor her life and celebrate the family’s long history of ranching in Brewster County.

“We are grateful for the establishment of an endowment honoring a distinguished Brewster County family ranching heritage,” said Dr. Bill Kibler, Sul Ross President. “The scholarship fund will provide financial assistance to students whose research will be integral to our common interest of sustaining the wildlife of this region.”

The fund was established in February 2018 and has been endowed with a $25,000 contribution. The endowment honors Virginia Matthews (Mrs. Franklin) Law; her mother, Lila Combs (Mrs. John) Matthews; and her grandparents, David S. and Eleanora Combs. David and Eleanora (Browning) Combs established the family ranch—a portion known as the Kincaid Ranch—near Marathon in 1900.

The new scholarship fund will provide scholarships to graduate students enrolled in the Range and Wildlife master’s degree program in the College of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. Eligible recipients must be fully admitted to the program and be enrolled in at least nine hours of graduate study in both the Fall and Spring semesters, and must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

The first scholarship has been awarded to Kaitlyn Williams, a second-year graduate student with the Borderlands Research Institute. She has a Wildlife and Fisheries Science bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and is expecting to complete her master’s degree in Range and Wildlife Management from Sul Ross State University in 2019. Her thesis work is examining grassland birds as indicators of grassland health, and she is exploring how the abundance of bird species responds to grazing pressure.

“It’s an honor because it shows support not only for me, personally, but for the research work we’re doing,” said Williams. “I am very grateful for the support.”
The family of Virginia Matthews Law hopes that by creating this scholarship, the Borderlands Research Institute will continue to expand the knowledge of all landowners in West Texas through its research, education, and outreach, so that they can become more effective stewards of their land.

For more information, contact Dr. Louis A. Harveson, harveson@sulross.edu.