The Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship

Sponsored by: The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm

2020 Deadline: June 1, 2020

The Scholarship

Sponsored by the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, the Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship has been established to honor the life and love of Rocky’s Uncle Max and to award $2,500 to an undergraduate student, enrolled in a 4-year program at a public or private college or university, majoring in either History or Education. The inaugural recipient was selected in May 2015 for the fall 2015 semester, and yearly recipients will be chosen each August thereafter. The scholarship will be paid on the first Monday in September following the season opener football game of the University of Tennessee, in accordance with Uncle Max’s wishes. Like Rocky, Max graduated from UT-Knoxville and loves the Vols football team. An eligible student must be enrolled as a full-time student during the fall semester in which the award is paid. At the student’s election, the scholarship can be paid directly to the university or college but is not transferable.

About Max McElhaney

As a luxury hotel executive, Max usually lived in other, more metropolitan cities like Dallas, Louisville, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington, D.C. and Miami throughout Rocky’s childhood. He would come home for Christmas every year and bring the absolute coolest presents.

He did not need to call to see what Rocky or his brother Reggie wanted.   Max knew how to pick out the most awesome gifts. One year it was a robot from FAO Schwarz in New York, one year it was this super sweet Miami Hurricanes white windbreaker from Coral Gables, one year it was an electronic football game that no one in East Tennessee had ever heard off, let alone seen. Rocky and the other kids thought Max hung the moon.

Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship

Rocky and Max McElhaney

As Rocky grew into an adult, he would travel to where Max was working at the time to visit. Max would put him up in the nicest room in the hotel and make sure Rocky had all the spoils, like swordfish in D.C., 50-yard line Capital Bowl game tickets in Orlando, and box seats at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Max treated Rocky like a responsible adult and championed his every move. “I am so proud of the man you have become and all that you have accomplished,” Max would tell Rocky. Yeah, Uncle Max is just about the best uncle any person could ever want.

Born and raised in rural Grainger County, Tennessee, Max traveled about 40 miles down the road to attend college at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where he majored in Education. For a while after graduation he taught high school in East Tennessee and Central Florida. Needing more from life and a bigger experience, Max returned to school and earned a MBA with focus in Marketing. This choice opened the door to a lifetime of travel, adventure and love. Max lived a fabulous life and set a wonderful example of commitment, hard work, benevolence, and intelligent decision making for Rocky and his other nieces and nephews.

Max was diagnosed with terminal cancer in early 2014. He and the love of his life chose to live fully during the final months, to fulfill wondrous romantic notions and reach for a final few stars. On August 20, 2014, a 38 year courtship, the gold standard of love in Rocky’s family, finally lead to the alter in a small, private ceremony in Washington, D.C., a city where the couple had shared so many wonderful memories. Although it came near the end, it was one of the best days of Max’s life. And so, on that date, August 20, 2014, Rocky announced the founding of this scholarship to honor his Uncle Max and the pioneering and courageous example of love, humility and sacrifice that Max’s legacy will soon leave behind.

Max McElhaney lost his battle with cancer on May 4, 2015. Rocky gave the eulogy at a small memorial service in Rutledge, Tennessee.

Gone but never forgotten, his legacy will surely live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew this larger than life man and also through the annual award of this scholarship to a driven and bright young mind with a firm grip on what is important in life.

How To Apply

Applications must include the following:

  • A story of the gold standard of love in the student’s family
  • A statement of financial need
  • A written statement of no more than 100 words explaining why the applicant should be chosen above all other applicants. Tell us what sets you apart and why you are special. Do not tell us boring, cookie-cutter stuff like you are committed to your studies or that you are dedicated to hard work. Wow us. Don’t bore us.
  • One recommendation from a faculty member or university/college advisor
  • Proof of enrollment in a 4-year private college or university for the upcoming fall semester
  • Student status and/or declaration of major in History or Education.
  • One picture. It can be a solo shot, illustrate the student doing what he or she loves, or spending time with those they love.

Fill out our application form below (be sure to attach your files). Students must submit their completed applications by June 1st. The winner will be selected prior to August 1st, and the scholarship will be awarded in the later half of July. Please email all questions about the scholarship to [email protected].

Previous Winners

Click here to watch Rocky give out the scholarship to previous winners!

Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship Application

Max McElhaney Memorial Educational Scholarship Application

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