Serving Nebraska, Serving Students

From left: Frank Marsh, Charles Ansah and Shirley Marsh. Ansah established a scholarship fund honoring the Marshes.

By Susan Houston Klaus

Growing up, the Marsh kids always knew their parents valued an education.

“There was no question we were all going to college,” said Sherry Marsh Tupper, a Burnett Society member. “That was all there was to it.”

Mom and Dad really invested their time in people. They tried to help Nebraska be a better place to live.

Today, the Frank and Shirley Marsh Scholarship Fund, established by an exchange student the Marshes hosted, honors their memory and their significant contributions to Nebraska and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Frank and Shirley Marsh both graduated from UNL. Frank earned his bachelor’s degree on the GI Bill after serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, and Shirley earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at UNL.

They both went on to have distinguished careers serving the state of Nebraska.

Beginning in the 1950s, Frank served an 18-year term as secretary of state. He also was lieutenant governor in the 1970s and state treasurer in the 1980s and 1990s.

Shirley was sworn in as the only female Nebraska state senator in 1973 and served District 29 for 16 years. She also was active in numerous community organizations and causes.

The University of Nebraska was always Frank and Shirley’s first pick for their kids. Four of the six Marsh children earned their degrees from UNL.

“It wasn’t like, `Well, we think you should go away to school,’” said their son Dory Marsh. “It was kind of like, `Here’s a land-grant college literally in your neighborhood.’”

The Marshes believed young people from around the world could benefit from a Nebraska education. For several decades, they hosted international students in the American Field Service program.

These students included Charles Ansah, an AFS student from Ghana who graduated from Lincoln Southeast High School and earned a UNL Regents Scholarship. In 1993, Ansah founded one of the first Black-owned pharmaceutical companies in the United States.

Ansah, whom the family considers a brother to the Marsh siblings and who called Frank and Shirley “Mum and Dad,” said he remembered “having discussions during dinner and learning more about the cultural styles from different students and what shaped their perspective on life.”

To honor the Marshes, Ansah established the Frank and Shirley Marsh Scholarship Fund in 2000 to benefit international students. Sherry Marsh Tupper has established a planned gift to support the fund through a charitable gift annuity.

The Marsh children know their parents’ legacy continues through this fund.

“Mom and Dad really invested their time in people, as opposed to making money for themselves,” said Dory Marsh. “They tried to help Nebraska be a better place to live.”