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Scholarship and Endowment Honors Family Legacy

A new scholarship has been created at the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University by the family of Franklin and Virginia Law to honor their lives and celebrate the family’s long ranching history in Brewster County.

Franklin and Virginia Law spent a lifetime together stewarding the West Texas ranch that had been in the family for generations. Virginia’s grandparents, David S. and Eleanora Combs, established the ranch in Brewster County in 1900, where cattle have been raised continuously for 120 years. The couple loved the ranch with its vast expanses of rangeland, rugged hills and diverse wildlife. Together they taught their daughters to cherish it and their ranching heritage as much as they did.

Besides loving the land, Franklin and Virginia greatly valued education. As college graduates, they understood the beneficial impact education could have, not only for their own children and grandchildren, but for future generations. They put their daughters and grandchildren through college, and now their daughters want to pay it forward.

The Franklin and Virginia Law Endowment has been established through the Sul Ross State University Foundation. Each year the endowment will support a scholarship for a deserving graduate student at the Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University. The family hopes that the scholarship will help BRI students now and in the future to further their education and help expand the knowledge of all landowners so they may become more effective stewards of their land.

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Franklin and Virginia Law
on their wedding day

“It is a fitting tribute to Franklin and Virginia Law that their children have established a scholarship and endowment that will benefit students for years to come,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and Regents’ Professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross State University. “By educating the next generation, we can help ensure that BRI will continue to meet its mission and provide landowners with the information they need to care for their land.”

BRI graduate student Daniel Wilcox is the first recipient of the Franklin and Virginia Law Scholarship. He’s the first generation of his family to go to college and said the scholarship could not have come at a better time.

“I was out of options and was contemplating taking a break from my studies to earn some money to pay tuition next semester,” said Wilcox. “I am so thankful for this opportunity to continue pursuing my education. After I earn my master’s degree, I plan on pursuing a PhD. I’m passionate about carrying the torch and teaching others. I could not have gotten this far without scholarships and I am immensely grateful to receive this one.”

For more than a decade, the Borderlands Research Institute has encouraged effective land stewardship of the Chihuahuan Desert. Housed at Sul Ross State University, the Borderlands Research Institute builds on a long-lasting partnership with private landowners, the university’s Range and Wildlife Program, and cooperating state, federal, and non-governmental organizations. Through research, education, and outreach, the Borderlands Research Institute is helping to conserve the last frontier of Texas and the Southwest.

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Daniel Wilcox, the first recipient of the Franklin and Virginia Law Scholarship