MOUNT GAY — Logan native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., winner of the sixth season of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2011, performed a free concert on the Logan campus of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Saturday night, where he was presented with a surprise: a new scholarship named in his honor.
The concert was held to commemorate both the 10-year anniversary of Murphy’s “AGT” win and the 50th anniversary of Southern’s opening. During the free show, which was held in the Savas Kostas Performing Arts Center, the audience was treated to Murphy singing songs such as “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder, “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra and his original titled “Come Home to West Virginia.”
Of course, Murphy’s personality, with his knack of making wisecracks and telling stories about his life, also shined during the performance.
About 45 minutes into the set, Murphy was suddenly joined onstage by Southern’s president, Dr. Pamela L. Alderman, who announced that a new scholarship for the college has been named in his honor. The scholarship is aimed at nontraditional students in need of financial assistance.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Murphy used the time to earn his GED three decades after he dropped out of high school. Several times during Saturday’s concert, he discussed how never earning his high school diploma was always a personal struggle for him, even after he achieved fame.
“It’s never too late to achieve your goals. I am honored that the college decided to offer this scholarship to students who decided to come back to college later in life,” Murphy said following the announcement.
Any nontraditional student seeking the scholarship should attach to their application an essay of 300 to 500 words explaining how a college education will assist them in their goals.
Alderman said she is proud to partner with Murphy to provide the scholarship.
“He has been such a great ambassador for education and our community,” Alderman said. “We couldn’t happier to make this scholarship in his name available to our students.”
The concert also provided a significant amount of canned food to the Southern food pantry. Although tickets to the show were free, the college asked attendants to provide at least two cans of food upon entry.
To see a gallery of photos from the concert, visit www.LoganBanner.com.