A sold-out crowd, with a vested interest in the academic success of Jackson State students, joined first lady Deborah E. Bynum at the Jackson Convention Complex for the second annual scholarship luncheon. The event’s purpose is to assist deserving students with some of the financial burdens faced during their tenure at JSU.
This year’s goal was set for $75,000 after $25,000 was raised at the inaugural luncheon in 2018. JSU administrators, alumni, students and a host of family and friends listened as Bynum presented her opening remarks. She then introduced special guest, NBA Legend, Mr. Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The audience was instantly amazed as Johnson entered the room. Immediately, he greeted the audience with a magical surprise, “I know the first lady wants to raise $75,000 today, so I’m going to start off by donating $100,000. So now we don’t have to worry about her meeting the goal.”
The crowd stood to their feet and applauded as he continued, “I’m all about young people, my wife and I are blessed and we love to bless others because that’s what it’s all about. As long as I keep coming, you will keep getting money from the magic man.”
Johnson then proceeded to raise an extra $30,000 by auctioning off two ‘magic’ packages consisting of floor-side tickets to a Lakers game, dinner with the NBA legend in Los Angeles, autographed jerseys and a host of other perks. The ‘magic’ bundles were purchased by JSU Development Foundation chair, Debra Magee and alumna June Hill.
Directly after Johnson exited the stage, the media and a host of fans were waiting outside for photographs and interviews.
The guests were served lunch and entertained by JSU’s MADDRAMA performance group.
Afterwards, Tougaloo College’s President Emerita, Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan introduced the esteemed keynote for the afternoon, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover.
Glover is the former Dean for JSU’s College of Business, the first female and current President of Tennessee State University, and the International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
She spoke passionately to the audience on a series of topics including faith, voting rights, empowerment and giving back to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“God is preparing us and God has blessed us. JSU has been blessed with more of everything. Our parents survived with less of everything. With less, they beat slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, the KKK and ultimately with less, Harriet Tubman lead 1,000 slaves out of slavery. Now, we must do more with more.”
She closed by saying, “Let me encourage you today, we’ve seen struggles before, we’ve faced hard times but we made it. Our best days are ahead of us, so we must keep going and keep giving.”
The crowd cheered and stood to their feet after Glover concluded her speech.
The moment everyone had anticipated was finally here. JSU’s vice president of Institutional Advancement, Veronica Cohen along with the luncheon’s co-chairs presented a grand check to Mrs. Bynum in the amount of $316,535.
Co-chairs for the luncheon were Maxine Greenleaf, executive director of University Communications; David Howard, researcher/program analyst; Constance Lawson, chief development officer for Major and Planned Gifts; and Carol Woodson, director of Events and Visitor Services.
Dr. Bynum ended the luncheon by sharing his personal thoughts about his wife. Speaking with sincerity, he says, “My wife is not only beautiful on the outside but also on the inside. She is a phenomenal giver who truly cares about helping others. I am grateful to God for my biggest achievement and that is Deborah Elaine Bynum.”