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Scholarship Purpose & Criteria
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Tennis students, friends, and fellow citizens from the City of Suffolk, and former tennis students and protégées from as near as Richmond, Norfolk and Washington, DC, and as far away as the states of Washington, Georgia, California and Arizona have generously given to establish in perpetuity in honor of Howard D. Mast, the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship. Mr. Mast passed away on October 27, 2006. He previously served Suffolk and its youth as Director of Parks and Recreation (1949-1966), coached the first tennis team at Virginia Wesleyan College, served as facilities engineer at Norfolk State University, coached the Nansemond River High School boys’ tennis team for one year at the age of 88, organized and directed the Suffolk Tennis Association, presided over both the Virginia and Mid-Atlantic Tennis Associations, and, for decades, served as mentor, teacher, coach, and friend to countless citizens, young and old, in Suffolk and beyond.
Though a football and track and field star at Virginia Tech, Howard D. Mast never played tennis himself, but he was a visionary. He saw high school and returning college athletes commence their working lives outside of sports gain weight, get out of shape and harm their health in their new sedentary life styles. He decided in 1952 to create a public tennis program from scratch to serve the youth of Suffolk and give them the wherewithal to maintain a healthy lifestyle in adulthood. “Since he had no clue about proper [tennis] technique, Mast asked a friend at the University of Michigan for help. The friend sent him reams of instructional material. ‘I'll never forget the guy who sent it to me,' Mast said. ‘He said you're about to get involved in the best sport that's ever been invented. And you know, he was right.' Armed with his pamphlets, Mast spent the '50s developing a host of quality players who formed the nucleus of teams that won six consecutive state boys championships at the old Suffolk High.” (A First Time For Everything for 88-Year-Old Tennis Coach, By Paul White, The Virginian Pilot © May 9, 2006) His boys and girls also earned high state rankings in tennis, some even national rankings. How did Mr. Mast achieve such success? He conducted beginners’ classes during the summer for a modest $1.00. A public employee, he used his own funds to sell tennis racquets to aspiring young boys and girls who took those classes -- at cost -- whether poor or middle class, and strung them for the cost of the strings – no labor cost for his labor of love. Those that could not afford to pay immediately even at cost, he let pay over time. He wanted to put a racquet into the hands of his girls and boys from all walks of life. And, yes, sometimes he bore the loss personally when the family of a young player couldn’t pay, even over time. He did have one requirement, however, for the girls and boys who took lessons in his public program. If you continued to play tennis after being taught in the program, you were required to come back the next summer and teach the beginners’ classes. His bootstrapping approach was hugely successful.

During his entire life, Howard Mast tirelessly promoted the game of tennis among youth and adults in Suffolk, the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic Region. He positively and profoundly affected the lives of countless young people in their development as tennis players, as athletes in other sports, and, equally importantly as good citizens of the community.

The Mid-Atlantic Tennis Foundation Hall of Fame recognized his extraordinary contributions to tennis by inducting him into its Hall of Fame in 1995, along with tennis legend Donald Dell.

The Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship Fundraising Committee, an independent group of his former tennis students (three from Suffolk, four from around the country) raised the funds to endow a Scholarship to be named in his honor. The Committee caused those funds to be donated and entrusted initially to The Virginia Beach Foundation for the benefit of The Suffolk Foundation. The Committee then caused the funds to be transferred to The Suffolk Foundation itself. The Committee is proud that the Foundation was able through the Committee’s fundraising efforts to establish in perpetuity the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship to award scholarships annually.


The purpose of the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship is to provide an annual award to one of the scholarship applicants. The annual award will be given for the sole purpose of paying college expenses.


To be eligible to receive the Howard D. Mast Memorial Scholarship, an applicant must meet the following criteria:

(i) have financial need;
(ii) have participated in athletics in youth and/or school programs; and
(iii) exhibit and be of strong moral character.

Each scholarship applicant must also be, at the time of the award, a current resident of the City of Suffolk and either,

a) a graduating senior at one of the public or private high schools located in the City of Suffolk, or a senior in an accredited home school program conducted in Suffolk; or

b) a former graduate of one of the public or private high schools located in the City of Suffolk or a former senior in an accredited home school program conducted in Suffolk who is then currently enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited college or university in the United States.


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