Coutcher Scholarship Supports ROTC Cadets

Students who participate in ROTC are among NC State’s most inspiring. Demonstrating maturity beyond their years, as young adults they are already dedicated to serving our country and representing the university through their service.

Cadets add their ROTC responsibilities to the already weighty challenges of being a student. No doubt about it, these students are tough. But behind the discipline and rigor, they are still students–away from home and struggling to find balance between personal and academic endeavors–and at some point they will need someone to rely on. Someone to listen without judgement, or to offer words of comfort during times of uncertainty. At NC State, for students in ROTC programs, Dan Coutcher was that person.

Dan’s life’s work was built upon supporting and providing spiritual guidance for students participating in ROTC programs. His faith and passion for serving students made him a natural fit for collegiate and ROTC ministry work. He was a confidant, a mentor, and above all, an inspiration to all who crossed his path.

Dan passed away in September 2015, following a courageous battle with cancer. The loss was profound, but it is clear that he left NC State’s campus a kinder, more compassionate place than he found it. To honor his legacy and the impact he had on students, Gail and Tim Hughes, Dan’s sister and brother-in-law, have established the Dan and Lois Coutcher Scholarship for Navy and Marine Corps ROTC. Gail and Tim are both first generation college graduates. They understand firsthand the necessity of education, and the challenges that many students face during their journey to degree completion. Their hope is that deserving students will be encouraged to pursue military careers in service to their country. The need-based scholarship provides financial assistance for students participating in Naval or Marine Corps ROTC programs who demonstrate leadership qualifications and are service-minded.

There are so many ways to show support. Through the establishment of the Dan and Lois Coutcher Scholarship, Gail and Tim are also helping students with limited financial resources find meaningful ways to contribute to society and “pay it forward”, beyond financial donations. Monetary support is essential, but the Hughes family also wants students to realize that gifts of time and talent are every bit as valuable. Recipients of the Coutcher Scholarship will be required to contribute to the local community as volunteers. It’s an early opportunity to establish within students a philanthropic mindset–and a reminder that philanthropy doesn’t always equate to dollars.

Dan Coutcher embodied the very best of the world–selflessness and integrity, and unwavering faith in humanity–and he had the rare ability to inspire the same in others. Through the establishment of this scholarship, Gail and Tim Hughes are ensuring that students who best represent these admirable qualities are afforded access to the high-impact educational and leadership experiences that are essential in helping students achieve success.

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