The Hearst Foundation is providing a $100,000 grant to Jackson State University’s Du Bois-Harvey Honors College to assist scholars with supplemental aid for tuition, books and other fees.
“Over the years, we’ve worked with departments, agencies and alumni to advocate for students when they are in dire financial need,” said Dr. Loria Brown Gordon, associate dean of JSU’s W.E.B. Du Bois-M.L.A. Harvey Honors College. “The assistance from the Hearst Foundation will position Honors College not just to promote service and advocacy but to put money into the effort.”
The grant money is expected to be available at the start of the spring semester, and information will be forthcoming on the application process, Brown Gordon said.
She recalls a time when a student left the department for a job to work at a McDonald’s restaurant in Meridian because the rising scholar was just $1,400 short of fulfilling her school expenses. “These funds will help me avoid watching students leave school and not return for just that small amount.”
Constance Lawson, chief development officer in the Division of Institutional Advancement, agrees that the money will fill a much-needed gap.
“A lot of students are first-generation college students, and they experience serious financial need,” said Lawson, who helped arrange a meeting between JSU and Hearst Foundation senior program officer Ligia Cravo from New York. Her one-day visit included a campus tour of the Honors College and other locations involving students as well as a luncheon with JSU President Dr. William B. Bynum Jr., JSU faculty and staff.
In 1980, JSU established its Honors Program. Eventually, it was renamed the W.E.B. Du Bois Honors College in 1991 in honor of the renowned national scholar. Then, in 2017, the name expanded to Du Bois-Harvey Honors College in recognition of the late Dr. Maria Luisa Alvarez Harvey, who established the program. She had dedicated 32 years of leadership and service to the university before her retirement.
Since its inception, more than 500 scholars have successfully completed the program.
With financial support from organizations such as the Hearst Foundation, the honors program is expected to produce even more scholars. So, the grant is a big boost to the program. In fact, the foundation in just over the past five years has funded 398 grants totaling almost $38 million to organizations such as the Studio Museum in Harlem and various children’s hospitals throughout the nation. Today, JSU is proud to be among these fortunate recipients.
Lawson further expressed, “I foresee a continuous partnership with Hearst that will support the urban institution and its students with financial assistance. This grant will help allay fears by defraying a variety of expenses, especially with the ballooning costs of college.”
Finally, she expects others will take notice of Hearst’s investment. She said additional support from individuals, corporations and philanthropic foundations is important because JSU’s successful scholars ultimately will impact their lives, and the world, through research and innovation.