Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund

The Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund awards annual scholarships to aspiring journalists and writers. The scholarship program was created in 1991 and was named for one of the state’s pioneering women in journalism. Scott, who lived to be 107, wrote a book late in life about her career in newspaper reporting, teaching and advertising.


Since 2011, the Bess W. Scott Scholarship Fund has been affiliated with the Austin Community Foundation (ACF). The Writers’ League of Texas was our home for 20 years, and we continue to count WLT as our friend and resource.

Created in the late 1970s, ACF has grown into a major philanthropic institution that serves as adviser and funds administrator to more than 900 charitable funds.

About Bess Whitehead Scott

“Write!” was the advice of Bess Whitehead Scott to aspiring writers. “Just don’t waste time. Don’t read too many articles about writing. The main thing is to write. No matter whether you do it well or not – WRITE. Give some time every day of the world, if it’s not but thirty minutes, to use your mind for whatever you’re working on. ALWAYS be working on something.”

Bess Whitehead Scott received numerous awards during her life and was recognized for her accomplishments by several organizations. She was named in 1994 to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame for her pioneering spirit as a journalist and writer. Recognized in 1992 as a Distinguished Alumna of Baylor University 80 years after her graduation, she also was honored in 1992 as an Outstanding Alumna from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, which she attended the first three years of college.

Her career started in 1915. Having no background in newspaper work, she landed a job at The Houston Post as the first woman news reporter in Houston. Her career at the Post spanned 25 years, but her accomplishments extended beyond news reporting. One of her many accomplishments was encouraging a young student, Felton West, to enter the newspaper business in the 1940s. He worked for The Houston Post for 53 years. West died in 2005 after serving many years on the scholarship committee.

She taught journalism at Milby High School in Houston, wrote two journalism textbooks, traveled to Hollywood where she wrote screenplays for two-reel silent movies, and ran an advertising firm during World War II. Texas A & M University Press published her autobiography You Meet Such Interesting People in 1989 when Bess was 99 years old.

In 1990 when Scott reached 100, the Writers’ League of Texas honored her with a celebration. At that time a scholarship was established in her name. The Bess Whitehead Scott Journalism Scholarship is awarded annually to an upper level journalism major. A second scholarship for writers age 40 and older was established in 2000.

Scott died December 27, 1997, at the age of 107. She leaves behind a legacy of excellence and diligence in the field of journalism as a model for students today.

Read more about the Bess Whitehead Scott Scholarship Fund on their website.