MISD Foundation for Excellence
The Cella Family Fund — est. 2021


Through a gift from Ron and Doris Cella, an endowment has been established to fund awards for the benefit of the Murray Independent School District (MISD), to reflect their longstanding roles with MISD and Murray State University (MSU), to ensure continuation of the family’s association with education in Murray, and to support educational travel opportunities for future students. Doris was a member of the MISD Board of Education for twelve years and served as chair for eight years; she has volunteered as a tutor and has helped coach the speech team. Ron has been a member and officer of the MISD Foundation since 2009. Their children Charles, Laura, and Rachel are honor graduates of Murray High School and participated in many organizations and activities including speech, soccer, band, student government, service clubs, academic team, and foreign language programs. Ron and Doris both had long careers at MSU, educating students in English, where Ron chaired the department for many years. For about three decades, Ron directed educational programs for MSU students, and many others, through the Center for Cooperative Study Abroad (CCSA). Their trips to London, Edinburgh, and other destinations were life-changing for many students. The Cella family enjoys and has benefited from travel abroad and wishes to make such opportunities more accessible to MISD graduates who attend MSU.


The intended purpose for the Cella Family Fund is to encourage and help graduates of Murray High School who attend MSU participate in a study abroad program. Earnings from the endowment will fund awards for said students toward that purpose. To the extent that the Purpose cannot be accomplished, such as due to dissolution of one or more of the institutions involved, the funds may be directed, with the approval of the Cella Family (not to be unreasonably withheld) to the nearest similar purpose reasonably available.

Application process

After applying for and meeting requirements to participate in an MSU Education Abroad program, graduates of MHS will be informed about and may apply for financial help from the fund. Applications will consist of a letter to the MISD Foundation’s Endowments Committee outlining the applicant’s reasons for studying abroad, the identifying details of the intended Education Abroad program, and how such study will support the applicant’s educational and life goals. The application should include the names and contact details of two current or former instructors who have agreed to provide a letter of reference. Applicants also shall provide transcripts from MHS and MSU and agree to provide a post trip narrative or visual report on their experience abroad within three months of their return.

Selection process

A Selection Committee consisting of a member of the Foundation’s Endowments Committee, a member of the MSU Education Abroad Office, and a member of the Cella family (comprised of Ron Cella, Doris Cella, Charles Cella, Laura Cella Hampton, Rachel Cella, and their heirs, or such other family members as one or more of them may designate by notice to the Foundation) will review applications, review letters of reference, select recipients, and determine the number and amounts of awards. The committee will consider character and achievements, anticipated life impact, and need, including financial need and other historical or current disadvantages. Applicants to CCSA programs will be favored where other factors are similar.

Award process

The foundation will transfer funds for awards to the Education Abroad program. If award recipients withdraw or fail to complete the program, unused funds will be returned to the foundation.


The Fund is to be managed by the MISD Foundation for Excellence. The founding gift will constitute the principal of the endowment, which shall be invested and shall not be invaded. The foundation will inform MSU officials each January how much is available to award. To the extent that the Selection Committee of the MISD Foundation for Excellence cannot operate or manage as designated above, such as due to dissolution or persistent unavailability of the designated membership, the selection process and management of funds may be administered by a subset of the Selection Committee or such other body that is dedicated to a similar purpose, such as by transferring funds to MSU to use for Education Abroad scholarships.

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