This scholarship is established in memory of Elmer Gregory and Leonard Rye, admired maternal grandfathers of Robert and Stephanie Bourque.

Gregory-Rye Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is established in memory of Elmer Gregory and Leonard Rye, admired maternal grandfathers of Robert and Stephanie Bourque.

Elmer Gregory was born in East St. Louis, IL on February 12, 1907. He was educated through the eighth grade but then had to go to work to help the family survive. Despite these early challenges he went on to become a Chevrolet automobile dealer and a long-serving Zoning Administrator for the City of Benton. Elmer was an avid golfer and played in many competitive events across Southern Illinois.

Leonard Rye was born in Palmyra, TN on September 2, 1920. He attained an eighth-grade education and enlisted to serve in the Philippines during WWII. Upon his return from war, he settled in Mt. Vernon and embarked on a long career in maintenance at General Radiator. Leonard was a lifelong tinkerer, a self-taught musician on the guitar, and weekend golfer.

Both of these men were shaped by living through the Great Depression and World Wars and the hardships those events entailed. They embodied the qualities of self-made men who overcame long odds to have a good living and loving families without the benefit of a significant education. They wanted their children and grandchildren to have the opportunities they did not, and worked daily to make sure an advanced education was available to everyone in their family.

It is in this spirit that the Gregory-Rye scholarship has been established- to enable graduates to go on to successful post high school education and help enable them to make their goals and dreams a reality.



Elmer Gregory

Leonard Rye

Award Amount

  • $10,000 per award, paid in 4 equal installments of $2,500 per academic year, while student remains enrolled and in good academic standing.


  • Benton, Illinois High School student, continuing education at college, university or technical institute


Respond to the following questions:

    • How financial barriers are a challenge to your educational goals?
    • What degree are you pursuing and how you will use it?
    • Who has been a major influence in your life and why?

Grade Point Average of 2.00 and above

Listing of

    • Academic Awards/Honors
    • Extra-Curricular Activities
    • Clubs/Societies/Organizations


Recommendation letters from a Teacher and Community Member


Show your support by making your tax deductible donation to SICF, or mail your check to: SICF, PO Box 1772, Marion, IL 62959.



We are bankers, administrators, community members, who are from Southern Illinois. Our families live and grow here and have for generations. This region means as much to us as it does to you. Let us help you grow your legacy to build
up the community that we all love.



The Southern Illinois Community Foundation engages the people of our region in building a tradition of philanthropy. We are committed to creating an opportunity for donors to participate in local community development efforts to address the changing needs of our community through charitable giving.