FSCB Employee Talking to Students in a Classroom

A $5,000 Scholarship for future business leaders.


About the Scholarship


William H. “Bill” Cooper, former Chairman of First State Bancshares, always remained committed to excellence, service, personal growth and integrity. This scholarship allows the First State family of companies to honor his legacy, while encouraging future leaders to follow his exceptional example.


Scholarship Benefits & Commitments


A $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to the winner, with half to be paid the first year and half to be paid the second year. Recipients will be required to maintain a GPA of 2.5 or higher in order to receive the full scholarship.


If selected as the William H. Cooper Leadership Scholarship recipient and thus admitted to an accredited two year or four year Missouri institution, recipient will agree to the following:


  1. Participate in personal growth experiences
  2. Make internship, service opportunities and seminars a strong priority
  3. Maintain a sound academic record
  4. Contribute to the community through educational experiences

Eligibility Requirements

  • High School Seniors attending eligible High Schools within an FSCB Market (link to eligible schools)
  • Student should plan to further their education in a business-related field at a 2-year or 4-year institution
  • To ensure impartiality, immediate family members & dependents of FSCB employees are discouraged from applying.

Selection Criteria

Leadership Experience and Potential

--- Applicants should have a history of participation in school and community activities, and a goal of increasing involvement, particularly in the area of leadership development. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to understand and apply concepts of values-based leadership and selfless service, and to be willing to critically examine their own behavior and performance.

Evidence of Personal Character and Integrity

--- Applicants should demonstrate characteristics of high personal character, using this strength of character to be resilient in the face of significant obstacles. Applicants should demonstrate how purposeful commitment to critical thinking as an intellectually disciplined process is guided by personal beliefs and ethical values.

Orientation toward Community and Service

--- Applicants should have an awareness of themselves as members of broader communities that they depend on and help to shape. Applicants should exhibit an active commitment to responsible stewardship and a desire to help address community, state, national, or global issues through participation and service.

Commitment to Personal Growth Applicants

--- must have a desire to actively participate in developing themselves as leaders by seeking out new experiences, gaining new skills, and making a commitment to ongoing self-discovery and personal development. It is expected that there will be evidence of time management skills necessary to accomplish multiple personal goals.

Commitment to Physical Fitness and Wellness

--- Applicants should demonstrate a commitment to overall health and wellness. Activities should reflect a commitment to physical fitness and the discipline and time management skills necessary to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle.

Academic Eligibility

—Recipient must ultimately be accepted for admission as a full-time, freshman undergraduate student at an accredited two or four year Missouri institution with plans to study a business related field. (Applicants must be a registered student at a participating high school within an FSCB market.)


The Application Process



  1. Complete the application and obtain a written recommendation/referral from a teacher.
  2. Submit the completed application and a sealed envelope of the teacher recommendation/referral to your High School Counselor by January 31, 2020.
  3. FSCB will contact semifinalist with instructions on how to complete a series of essay questions. Deadline to complete essay questions will be March 16, 2020
  4. Four finalist will be asked to travel to Farmington for a personal interview by the selection panel. Travel expenses will be reimbursed.
  5. Scholarship recipient and an alternate will be selected. The alternate will receive a $2,500. The additional 2 finalist will receive a $1,250.



At the early age of 23, William H. Cooper began turning his childhood vision into a reality, by purchasing his first gas station from his father. It was the oil business that taught him early lessons about being a true entrepreneur. The lessons were instrumental as he later established Cooper Oil Company in 1965. Cooper Oil quickly grew to be the largest “jobbership” in southeast Missouri.

For 35 years, Cooper Oil Company flourished and Bill served the oil industry in many capacities including lead positions in the Missouri Petroleum Marketing Association. It was his style, loyalty and long term commitment to the business that led to an industry-wide admiration by his peers.

Although his success in the oil business played an important role in his career, his love for the banking industry became his full-time focus.

Bill’s journey into banking began in 1964 when he became director of what was known then as First State Bank of Farmington. Utilizing his natural entrepreneurial instincts, Bill quickly established a solid foundation in community banking. In 1980, Bill purchased controlling shares of the locally owned bank and earned the position of Chairman of the Board – a position he held until his passing in 2010.

Through Bill’s visionary leadership, the once small community bank on the corner of Columbia Street and H Highway has developed into a multi-faceted financial mainstay in Eastern, Southeastern and Central Missouri. Serving the state with over 53 locations, Bill’s vision and leadership has led to astounding success for many of his employees or “family members”.

Through this scholarship program we are able to not only honor his memory, but also his exceptional gift of vision and leadership.  We hope that in time, young leaders throughout our family of communities will also be awarded an opportunity to share in Bill’s passion for success!