The Humble Legacy Behind the First Step Scholarship


a man and woman on podium presenting award check

Late entrepreneur and philanthropist Roy Speer always believed in education and made a habit of quietly helping students in need stay in school to pursue their dreams. But the man who founded Home Shopping Network never wanted credit for his generous acts.

He worked with many people and gave to many behind the scenes,” said his daughter, Lisa Vickers, who runs the Speer Foundation with her husband Brett Vickers.

Speer’s legacy of giving was on full display last summer at the St. Petersburg College Epicenter, with the presentation of a $125,000 check from the Speer Foundation to establish the First Step Scholarship – honoring a business titan to uplift a population of the Titan community.

The impactful gift is already assisting residents in the South St. Petersburg area who want to take the first step in starting a new career in the field of their choice. The scholarship is being awarded to SPC Workforce, Community and Corporate Partnership students. Awardees earn much-needed funds for crucial training and certificates that provide a bridge to higher-paying and more rewarding job opportunities.

Lisa believes the new scholarship speaks to her father’s selfless spirit.

“He would meet someone and find out they were having a hard time, and he would offer to pay for their education or their child care or something else,” she said. “But he would say the only thing you have to do is stay in school.”

Through the generosity of the Speer Foundation, that spirit of giving lives on for SPC students today.