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MSU Foundation Scholarship remembers Menifee County native

Billy CornettThe MSU Foundation has announced the establishment of the William Ray “Billy” Cornett Memorial Scholarship Endowment. This $25,000 endowment will provide annual scholarship funding to support incoming freshman who are residents of Menifee County.   

The scholarship namesake, Billy Cornett, grew up in Mariba, Kentucky, a small community in southeast Menifee County. He was a 1991 graduate of Menifee County High School. Cornett passed away in 1994 at the young age of 21 after sustaining injuries in a tragic automobile accident.  

Growing up, Cornett helped his parents, Stephen Ray Cornett and Judy Faye Rutherford, on their family farm. He was an avid outdoorsman. Cornett enjoyed fishing, horseback riding and exploring the scenic beauty of the Eastern Kentucky hills.  

The scholarship was established by Cornett’s second cousin, Captain Bruce D. Rutherford (Class of 1971). Rutherford describes his cousin as a gentle soul whose smile brightened the world around him.  

“I am proud of my Eastern Kentucky heritage and honored to be able to do something to honor my cousin Judy and remember her son’s life,” said Rutherford. “A scholarship helped me continue my education at Morehead State University and provided a pathway for me to serve not only in a medical capacity but serve my country as well. I hope this scholarship helps students from Menifee County continue their education and provides them with a brighter future.”   

Rutherford has been a longtime supporter of the MSU Foundation. This scholarship endowment is the second endowment he has generously funded. In 2019, he established the Captain Bruce D. Rutherford Scholarship Endowment which supports scholarships for students from Bell or Harlan Counties in Kentucky.  

For more information on this scholarship, or to establish your own, contact MSU’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development at 606-783-2033, email or visit
Pictured above: William Ray “Billy” Cornett