Kennesaw State formalizes scholarship to aid in retaining African−American male students

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (May 8‚ 2007) — A young man full of the highest aspirations for his…

Georgia (May 8, 2007) — Kennesaw State formalizes scholarship to aid in retaining African−American male students

Jeremy Craig

Abstract

Director of University Relations
Frances Weyand Harrison
770−423−6203
fharris4@kennesaw.edu

Writer: Jeremy Craig‚ 770−499−3448 or jcraig19@kennesaw.edu

KENNESAW‚ Ga. (May 8‚ 2007) — A young man full of the highest aspirations for his academic and professional future‚ Theodore M. Bullard‚ came close to leaving Kennesaw State University in 2006 – through no fault of his own – because of his financial situation.

Thanks to a scholarship formalized Tuesday by Kennesaw State University officials‚ Bullard — as well as other African−American men attending KSU — now may have a chance to stay in school and achieve their dreams.

Kennesaw State officials signed an agreement to establish the Dr. Judy Brown−Allen NAACP Student Retention Scholarship to improve the retention of African−American students at KSU‚ giving the chance for them to achieve their fullest potential.

President Daniel S. Papp noted the importance of the scholarship during remarks at the signing ceremony‚ citing statistics showing that of the University System of Georgia's African−American student population‚ only 32 percent of students are African−American males.

“We have a situation not only in Georgia‚ but in the United States‚ where African−American males‚ particularly‚ are disappearing from our universities‚” Papp said. “We're in danger of losing an entire generation‚ and we need to do whatever we can to rectify that trend. This scholarship is a significant and wonderful step in that direction.”

Judy Brown−Allen‚ a KSU sociology professor and advisor to the KSU chapter of the NAACP‚ helped to spearhead the scholarship‚ as she recognized the difficulty of retaining African−American male students due to the necessity of full−time work‚ or being unable to pay tuition.

She also was inspired by her own past‚ recounting when she went to college with little in the way of finances — but with a lot of love‚ support and hope from her family‚ including a mother who dug deeply into her pockets for whatever support she could provide.

“As she was leaving the day I started college‚ I ran behind the car just as fast as I could‚ yelling at the top of my lungs that I would not fail‚ and that I would not come home empty handed without a college degree‚” Brown−Allen said.

Though she had discussed the issue of African−American male student retention with her colleagues‚ Brown−Allen said meeting and teaching Bullard helped to get the scholarship program moving.

“It wasn’t until the semester in which I taught Theodore Bullard that I decided to stop merely talking about retention of the African−American male student‚ and began to investigate the needs of minority students on campus‚” she said.

Bullard was honored as the first recipient of the scholarship‚ receiving the scholarship during the 2006−07 academic year.

The past president of KSU’s NAACP chapter‚ which was honored for its outstanding community service through a voter registration drive last year‚ Bullard has excelled academically and said he hopes to attend law school.

“Without this scholarship‚ I would have had to drop out‚” he said. “I received $500 each semester‚ and worked full−time. It might not seem like much‚ but that $500 saved my life.”

“I want to make sure I graduate from Kennesaw State so that I can go to law school‚” Bullard added. “I want to start a non−profit organization to help inner−city youth go to college and take the first steps to get there.”

Besides the scholarship which was formalized Tuesday‚ Kennesaw State University is highly involved in the University System of Georgia’s effort to attract and retain African−American male students. Arlethia Perry−Johnson‚ special assistant to the president for external affairs at KSU‚ serves as project director for the University System’s African−American Male Initiative (AAMI).

ONLINE PRESS KIT:

For more about Kennesaw State University’s efforts to attract and retain African−American male students‚ visit www.kennesaw.edu/stu_dev/msrs/ksuaami.shtml.

For perspective on the University System of Georgia’s nationally recognized AAMI program‚ visit www.usg.edu/aami/.

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A member of the 35−unit University System of Georgia‚ Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive‚ residential institution with a growing student population approaching 20‚000 from 132 countries. The third−largest university in Georgia‚ Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees‚ including a new doctorate in education.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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