Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship

The 2024 Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship, sponsored by the Texas City Management Association, is a $5,000 educational fellowship for the August 2023 through May 2024 Academic Year.

Two graduate students from a Texas university will be awarded $3,500 to be used for his or her school related expenses. In addition, the recipient’s university will be awarded $1,500 in credit toward Texas City Management Association and Texas Municipal League education events.

About Clarence E. Ridley

Clarence E. Ridley was born in Armada, Michigan, on March 14, 1891. After receiving a bachelor’s dClarence E. Ridleyegree in civil engineering at the University of Michigan in 1914, he was assistant engineer of Flint, Michigan, for four years. He then became city engineer and water superintendent at Port Arthur, Texas, and after two years went to Columbia University, receiving a master’s degree in 1921.

Civic Service

He accepted the appointment as the first city manager of Bluefield, West Virginia, in 1921. After four years, he resigned his post at Bluefield to attend The Maxwell School and complete the requirements for a Ph.D. in public administration, the first city manager to take such a step.

From 1927 to 1929, Clarence Ridley served as staff engineer of the National Institute of Public Administration in New York, devoting part of his time to studying the role universities should play in preparing young persons for city manager careers.

International City/County Management Association (ICMA)

On June 1, 1929, he was named executive director of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

For 27 years, ICMA services were developed, expanded, and perfected by Clarence Ridley. After he retired in 1956, he continued to attend annual meetings of state associations, a number of which made him an Honorary Member.


In June 1962, he was awarded an LLB degree by Syracuse University. The Texas City Management Association established an annual scholarship in his name, and the Clarence E. Ridley In-Service Training award was developed by ICMA.

Program History

In 1956, Clarence E. Ridley retired after serving twenty-seven years as executive director of the International City/County Management Association. At their annual meeting that year, members of the Texas City Management Association (TCMA) decided to honor him in a way consistent with their goals and Mr. Ridley’s personal commitment to the profession of municipal management. They did so by establishing a scholarship program in his name to assist students pursuing advanced degrees in public administration in qualified Texas colleges and universities.

The program is funded by TCMA. At least one student has received a grant under the program every year since the initial award was made in 1957. Individual scholarships have been increased over the years from $600 per year to the current level of $3,500. Further, the recipient’s university receives a $1,500 credit towards Texas Municipal League and TCMA educational events. City management practitioners recognize the prestige of the Ridley Scholarship and the honor it carries for both the student and the academic institution he or she represents.

Application & Award Schedule

Applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. January 5, 2024. In-person interviews of finalists will occur in early 2023. Formal announcement of the award is scheduled for May 2023. Each individual award winner will receive $3,500 in two equal installments of $1,750 at the beginning of the 2023 fall and 2024 spring semesters. The recipient’s university will be credited $1,500 for attendance by students at education events sponsored by either TCMA or the Texas Municipal League. This credit is intended to encourage other students with an interest in public administration from the recipient’s university to attend TCMA or TML educational events and must be expended by June 30 of the following year. For example, the 2012 winner was announced in April 2012, and $1,500 became available for July 1, 2012-June 30, 2013.

Eligibility Criteria

The primary objective of the Ridley Scholarship is to compliment the decision made by persons who have chosen to pursue a graduate degree in public administration by providing them with financial assistance. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, be accepted or acceptable for admission to a graduate school in Texas, and demonstrate a serious commitment to pursue a career in local government.

Preference will be given to graduate students pursuing a degree in public administration, public affairs, or urban affairs (one-year minimum thirty-hour program and six graduate hours per semester).

Additional Information

For complete information on the Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship, please contact TCMA offices or request an information packet at:
1821 Rutherford Lane
Suite 400
Austin, TX 78754-5128
Phone: 512-231-7400

Download an application now (PDF).