The spring 2007 line of the Gamma Rho chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. presented a $25,000 check to Jackson State University’s Division of Institutional Advancement that will go toward a $50,000 endowment in support of student scholarships and book awards. Ultimately, the endowment will balloon to $100,000 with matching funds.
Stephanie Wade is a 2009 alum who majored in urban studies, which jettisoned her career in urban planning.
She moved to Puerto Rico a few years ago, working in emergency management. She had relocated there in 2017 to assist the U.S. territory in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes Irma and Maria. In fact, her efforts there are an extension of her humanitarian efforts and goals and speak to her past work as a FEMA analyst and outreach specialist with the Peace Corps.
Wade places strong emphasis on compassion toward others.
“I’m a public servant at heart, service to all mankind,” Wade said. “I’ve always been civic-minded and always felt the need to answer the call to service. That’s my motivation and passion in life.”
Her recent visit to JSU and the establishment of an endowment are meant to show that individuals can act locally and think globally.
“It’s important to give back financially to our HBCUs. I feel it’s a responsibility and not an option,” said Wade, waxing poetic about the importance of helping others in a “major, impactful” way. She said her sorority is “trying to be an example to others by showing this is something we have to do collectively.” She praised her sisterhood for making the donation a reality. “I’m so appreciative of them and all of their supporters who helped us get here today.”
She also credits the organization for “helping me establish myself as a woman and to realize the impact I can make in my own way. They really helped to move that out of me. They’re moms; they’re executives. They’re doing so much all around the country,” said Wade, giving a nod to another successful AKA, Vice President Kamala Harris.
Her ongoing plans for JSU are to continue motivating and encouraging students by letting them know there’s more than one route to success. And, she wants students to define for themselves what that means in a broad, global sense.
“We want to keep hope alive,” she said. “There are a lot of things going on in our country that can be very discouraging. I really hope everyone thinks about what it is they can do to keep hope going because that’s the only way we can make it through for the future.”