Corya Purdue and IU Scholarships

Both Stewart and Thelma Corya were raised in Clay Township in Decatur County.  They have both known each other basically their entire lives, well at least since elementary school.  Stewart and Thelma both attended Burnie High School, but only Stewart graduated from Burnie.

Thelma transferred her senior year to take all of the classes that Burnie didn’t offer at Greensburg Community High School, to better prepare herself for college and get the classes that she wanted to have.  She said, “I never missed one class period.” After high school graduation, Stewart went to Purdue University to major in Mechanical Engineering. While he was attending World War Two broke out, and while many men rushed off to enlist, the Dean of Purdue University at the time urged students to stay and rush their degree as to make sure they would be more useful to the armed services as educated men.  So that is just what he did.

He finished as quickly as possible and rushed off to end up being a Field Service Engineer for Curtis Wright during the war. He was assigned to the war department and travelled from air base to air base to solve various maintenance problems. After his time traveling all over the country, he was offered a job out of the country, but he denied it being that he couldn’t take Thelma with him. All the while Stewart was in college at Purdue; Thelma was attending the Indiana University School of Business in Bloomington. She said she remembered receiving a fifty dollar scholarship back then that required her to maintain a fairly high grade point average. By today’s standards that obviously isn’t much at all, but she explained that her entire year tuition, including books, food, and housing, was somewhere around five-hundred dollars, so it made a big difference.

She graduated with honors and took a job with the Remington Arms division of DuPont in Bridgeport, CT. At this time, quality control was a new concept and it was Thelma’s job to develop the guidelines or to design the parameters for the companies’ quality control. At the time the company was mainly focusing on developing and producing ammunition for World War Two, so she was obviously a busy woman.

At this time is when Thelma and Stewart were married, November 7, 1944, and they both decided to come back home to Decatur County where they have worked their farm ever since.  The two have two children who, like their dad, both have Mechanical Engineering Degrees from Purdue University and both have been highly successful in their fields of work.

When asked why they decided to create their two funds with the community foundation, Thelma responded, “We have always felt education was a priority and we believe in doing your best and we felt that those students who worked hard to be at the top of their classes deserved to be rewarded.” So Stewart and Thelma created both the Stewart G. Corya Purdue University Engineering Scholarship and the Thelma E. Corya Indiana University School of Business Scholarship.  Thelma ended the interview by saying, “We reward achievement. These awards are simply incentives to students to achieve as much as they can.”