About This Scholarship

Donor Biography

Elizabeth Shurtz Baker and Edward Lester Baker had a daughter, Bessie, who was born on February 6, 1012 in Escalante, UT. However, 11 days after Bessie's birth, her mother, Elizabeth died. Bessie's grandparents, (Mary Alice and Don Shurtz) raised her.

Bessie's Dad married Maggie May Meachan, and they had nine children. The Bakers had a great relationship with Bessie, but she remained with her grandparents, graduating from Provo High School in 1930.

Bessie met Alex Oblad, a musician who also held a Masters degree in Chemistry, and married in 1933. They traveled east, where Alex earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at Purdue University. In his work, Alex developed a process called Catalytic Cracking which allowed high octane gasoline to be produced very economically.

Bessie and Alex had six children while living in several eastern states. They returned to Utah in 1969 where Alex became a distinguished professor at the University of Utah.

Bessie's passion was her family. She took her role as a mother very seriously, teaching her children the value of hard work, loyalty, honesty and fairness. Bessie and Alex were very active in their church. Alex passed in 2000, aged 91. Bessie passed away in 2010, aged 98.

The Elizabeth Bessie Shurtz Memorial Endowment was established and funded by Dr. Alex and Bessie Oblad in memory of Mrs. Oblad's mother.

Scholarship Criteria

Will be awarded to a junior, sophomore or senior student from a Southern Utah Community with no other financial or scholarship assistance, and who show a strong desire to complete a degree.


Varied Dollars/yr


  • Opening: November 1
  • Final: March 1

If you any questions about your financial aid or need help applying for a scholarship you can contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@suu.edu or call (435) 586-7735.