Jean Matlock Scholarship for Young Women Fosters Gender Equity

By the time she finished her freshman year in high school, Jean Matlock had moved 12 times. Number 13 proved to be the luckiest of all. “Great was my joy when I discovered that we were again leaving for Rushville. For it was then—and still is, the ‘City of My Dreams.’ May my home be in Rushville Forever,” she declared in her 1929 Rushville High senior thesis.


After graduation, Jean lived in many places. But she never forgot her home in Rush County.


Her son Blair Hull and the Hull Family Foundation have ensured that Rush County never forgets Jean, either.


The Jean Matlock Scholarship for Young Women assists female college students with a generous annual scholarship that is renewable for up to four years. The award is based on academic merit, financial need, and community involvement.


My mother spoke of discrimination in terms of race and gender and fought against that,” Blair said. “She was unique in that she was promoted to management positions when most women were not working outside of the home. She was able to break the glass ceiling. I hope other women in Rush County will follow in her footsteps.”


This scholarship goes a long way toward fulfilling his wish.


During an era when the societal expectation for young women was to get married and start a family, Jean stood out as a pioneer. She first attended Case Western Reserve University and later transferred to William and Mary College. Despite the challenges posed by the Great Depression, Jean relocated to Arizona to be closer to her brother, Bill, and began her lifelong commitment of assisting others. In 1941, she married Marson Hull, who joined the Navy just two weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The couple moved to Treasure Island, California, where Marson was stationed.


Jean took on the traditional role of caring for her family and home, but she desired more. She secured a position with the California Department of Employment in San Jose, assisting job seekers and those applying for unemployment. Her persistence and ambition resulted in a well-deserved promotion to manager, a position that was seldom attained by women during the 1950s.


She never lost her fondness for Rushville. She kept in touch with some of the gang from high school. Blair remembers summer visits to Indiana while living in California. Upon retiring, Jean moved back to “the city of her dreams.”


She loved Rushville,” he recalled. “It was certainly the people but also the small-town atmosphere that attracted her after living in Phoenix and San Jose. It’s a classic town.”


Jean loved her work, too, and didn’t remain retired for long. In 1968, she accepted a position as the Ohio representative for the federal Work Incentive Program, commuting to Cincinnati from Rushville. The program provided social services and employment assistance to those in need. The position allowed Jean to continue her advocacy of equal rights and the advancement of women’s roles in the workplace.


Undoubtedly, my mother has influenced me greatly. Working for Gender equity and social justice are two areas I feel strongly about. I saw the discrimination that she faced,” he said. “She valued her education. It contributed to her success. Providing educational opportunities for other women will help them overcome the barriers they face.”


Hull and the Hull Family Foundation originally set up the scholarship through Rushville Consolidated High School in the early 2000s. At age 81, Blair wants to ensure that the scholarship and his mother’s memory endure. Earlier this year, he decided to endow it as a fund at RCCF. Jean’s scholarship will inspire future generations of women to pursue their ambitions.


We can help make sure that your charitable wishes continue forever with a gift to start or support an endowed fund. To learn more, please contact Chris May, Executive Director, at or (765) 938-1177.


Note: We HIGHLY recommend reading Jean’s senior thesis. It is a wonderful and charming look at teenage life in Rushville during the late 1920’s.

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